If every Australian drank one-litre less per year, the risk of three types of cancers would drop, according to new research.
The 20-year study found that a small reduction per capita had a significant impact on head, neck and liver cancer mortality.
For head and neck cancer deaths it was associated with an 11.6 per cent drop in males and 7.3 per cent drop in females, and a 15 per cent reduction in male liver cancer mortality.
The report – published by the Centre for Alcohol Policy Research (CAPR) and Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) – also revealed a higher death rate for men and women aged 50 and over from head and neck cancers, reflecting the long-term effects of the habit.
According to national guidelines an adult should limit their consumption to two standard drinks or less each day to reduce the lifetime risk of alcohol-related harm.
"There is no doubt that alcohol-related cancers would be significantly reduced if more of the population reduced their alcohol consumption and followed the national drinking guidelines," FARE chief executive Michael Thorn said.