Alcohol and seven types of cancer

Posted on in Health improvement

South Tees is backing a campaign launched by Balance, the North East Alcohol Office, to raise awareness of the link between alcohol and seven types of cancer.

Almost one million North Easterners are ignoring Government health guidelines and drinking at levels which are putting them at greater risk of seven types of cancer.

A survey carried out by Balance revealed that almost 2 in 5 of the region’s adults, around 813,000 people, are regularly drinking more than the recommended daily limits. These are 2-3 units for a woman – no more than a standard 175ml glass of wine – or 3-4 units for a man, which is a pint of strong lager.

Evidence shows that if you regularly drink above the guidelines the risk of developing cancer is higher than non-drinkers.

  • Men are 1.8 to 2.5 times as likely to get cancer of the mouth, neck and throat, and women are 1.2 to 1.7 times as likely.
  • Women are 1.2 times as likely to get breast cancer.
  • Men are twice as likely to develop liver cirrhosis, and women are 1.7 times as likely.
  • Bowel cancer risk is 21% higher in people who drink around 1.5 to 6 units per day.

However, more than 9 in 10 people in the region who regularly drink above the recommended limits believe they are light or moderate drinkers.

These concerning statistics have led Balance to launch its campaign to raise awareness of the link between alcohol and seven cancers including mouth, pharyngeal (upper throat), oesophageal (food pipe), laryngeal (voice box), bowel cancer, breast and liver.

Many of us often underestimate how much we drink, not realising we’re drinking at risky levels and in turn increasing our risk of developing cancer. Balance’s campaign aims to make people aware of the hidden harms associated with alcohol and encourage people to think about their intake and, if necessary, cut back to help reduce their risk.

The campaign will see a hard-hitting advert aired on television screens over a four-week period. The advert features a woman enjoying lunch and a glass of wine with her partner when she spills some of her drink on her top. The stain changes to show a growing tumour on her breast. You can view the film here – reducemyrisk.tv

Find out more about Balance and the campaign at www.facebook.com/balance.northeast and on Twitter @BalanceNE

Tumour poster