Almost one in five of us don’t believe alcohol cancer link

  • Post category:Newsletter

hospital-corridorx250Ireland has the second highest cancer rate in the world, yet almost one in five Irish adults do not believe there is a connection between alcohol and cancer.

Figures compiled by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) show that Ireland has the second highest cancer rate in the world. Regular alcohol consumption is listed as one of the factors, along with high-fat diets and lack of exercise, contributing to the high cancer rates.

Despite this, a recent Eurobarometer report shows that awareness of the risks of between alcohol and cancer remains very low in Ireland, with almost one in five people believing there is no link between the two.

Alcohol Action Ireland marked World Cancer Day by calling for health risk labels to be placed on all pre-packaged alcoholic drinks.

Director Fiona Ryan said: “Consumers have the right to be made aware of the links between alcohol use and the risks to health. Such a move has popular support – four out of five people in Ireland believe alcoholic products should carry health warnings.”

She added that women especially needed to be made aware of the links between alcohol consumption and breast cancer.

“Many women do not know that drinking one standard alcoholic drink a day is associated with a 9% increase in the risk of developing breast cancer, while 3 to 6 drinks a day increases the risk by as much as 41%,” she said.

The introduction of labelling on alcohol products carrying health warnings, as well as a full list of ingredients and the number of alcohol units in the product, will equip all consumers with essential information about the dangers associated with alcohol use before they drink.

My Ryan added: “The incoming Government should seize the opportunity and act on overdue legislation to put information/health warning labels on all packaged alcohol.

“People want and have the right to make informed choices about their health.   The introduction of alcohol health warning labels will ensure that consumers will no longer be left in the dark about the many health risks associated with alcohol.”

Alcohol and Cancer: The facts

  • Alcohol is a contributory factor in more than 60 illnesses. Many cancers, including cancer of the mouth, larynx, oesophagus, liver, colorectum and female breast, have a causal relationship to alcohol consumption
  • Alcohol and tobacco together are estimated to account for about three-quarters of oral cancer cases in Europe (Cancer Research UK 2009)
  • It is estimated that up to 20% of breast cancer cases in the UK can be attributed to alcohol (World Cancer Research Fund 2010)
  • The risk of bowel cancer increases by 8% for every two units of alcohol consumed a day

Read more at: Health and alcohol