Alcohol and Lung Cancer: Is Drinking a Risk Factor?

Is drinking alcohol a risk factor for lung cancer? That is, does drinking increases the chance of getting the disease? No. Drinking alcohol and lung cancer are not linked.

That’s the conclusion of these medical groups.

And the list goes on and on. So it’s clear that alcohol and lung cancer aren’t linked.

Risk Factors

alcohol and lung cancerLung cancer is a major cause of cancer death. That’s true among both men and women. And also around the world. Smoking is by far the biggest cause. But there are many other risk factors.

A lung cancer risk factor is anything that increases the chance of getting the disease. But having one or more risk factors doesn’t mean that a person will get lung cancer. And some people get the disease without any of these risk factors.

    • Smoking tobacco (by far the leading risk factor).
    • Breathing the tobacco smoke of others (secondhand smoke).
    • Breathing radon (the leading risk factor among non-smokers).
    • Radiation therapy to the lungs.
    • Personal or family history of lung cancer.

Also a risk factor is exposure to any of these.

    • Asbestos.
    • Diesel exhaust.
    • Air pollution.
    • Radioactive ores.
    • Arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, chloromethyl ethers, chromium compounds. Also coal products, mustard gas, nickel compounds, silica, or vinyl chloride.


Symptoms of lung cancer may not appear until it’s advanced. So it’s important to see a doctor at the first sign of any of these.

    • A cough that doesn’t go away.
    • Coughing up blood or rust colored material.
    • A cough that gets worse.
    • Shortness of breath.
    • Wheezing
    • Chest pain that is often worse when breathing deeply, coughing, or laughing.
    • Hoarse voice.
    • Loss of appetite.
    • Weight loss.
    • Lung-related infections.
    • Feeling tired or weak.

alcohol and lung cancer

Some risk factors can’t be changed. But we can change the major risk factor. And that’s to stop smoking.

There’s good news. There’s free help at Smokefree.

Note. This site gives no advice. Please see your doctor for alcohol and lung cancer concerns.