Around 500 cancer deaths a year caused by alcohol

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AROUND 500 of the 900 people who are diagnosed with alcohol-related cancers annually will die of the disease, it emerged yesterday.


The stark figure came as the Cross Party Oireachtas Group on Alcohol Harm called on the Government to no longer delay that proposed legislation on minimum drink prices.

Dr Mary Laffoy, of the National Cancer Control Programme, said alcohol abuse could cause cancer of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, oesophagus, liver, pancreas, bowel and breast.

She said that over 100 research studies had examined the association between alcohol consumption and breast cancer.

“There is clear and consistent evidence of the association and the risk increases with alcohol intake. Our research showed that 12pc of breast cancers and 50pc of head and neck cancers in Ireland were associated with alcohol consumption.

“Drinking over Department of Health-recommended limits accounts for much of the increased risk of alcohol-related cancers in Ireland,” she said.

“At least half of alcohol-related cancers could be avoided by drinking within recommended levels. In relation to alcohol and breast cancer, a sensible life-long approach to consumption is needed.”

Kathleen O’Meara of the Irish Cancer Society warned there was no safe level of alcohol consumption as far as cancer was concerned. It wants labels on alchohol saying it causes fatal cancer.