National alcohol charity urges people to “Reduce Your Drinking: Reduce Your Cancer Risk”

Alcohol Action Ireland, the national charity for alcohol-related issues, is encouraging people to examine their drinking habits and to reduce their cancer risk by reducing the amount of alcohol they drink.

The charity has highlighted the link between alcohol and cancer in the latest in its series of information leaflets on alcohol, “Reduce Your Drinking: Reduce Your Cancer Risk”, which is available to download at

“Alcohol is recognised as a key risk factor for cancer, but it’s also one of the most preventable causes of cancer,” said Conor Cullen, Communications Officer with Alcohol Action Ireland. “The Seanad Public Consultation Committee recently reported that, along with obesity and tobacco, alcohol is one the leading causes of cancer that arises from our lifestyle choices, with an estimated 1,200 alcohol-related cancer cases occurring in Ireland each year. A report published yesterday by the National Cancer Registry states that lifestyle factors are ’extremely important’ in colorectal cancer, with alcohol a cause of both colon and rectal cancers, which are expected to rise by 34% in women and 45% in men by 2020.

“Drinking alcohol is a lifestyle choice that many of us in Ireland make, but the more alcohol you drink, the more you increase your risk of developing a number of cancers, such as cancers of the mouth, larynx, throat, oesophagus, liver, bowel and breast.   It’s estimated that one of third of cancers could be prevented by positive lifestyle changes and drinking less is one of the healthy decisions people can make that will reduce their risk of cancer,” said Mr Cullen.

“As well as providing information on the link between alcohol consumption and cancer, Reduce Your Drinking: Reduce Your Cancer Risk also includes tips to help people cut down on their drinking and outlines some of the many benefits they may enjoy if they do. However, the responsibility to tackle our alcohol consumption does not fall solely on the individual and if we are to seriously address alcohol-related harms, including cancer, in this country then we need to implement the key recommendations contained in the Steering Group Report on the National Substance Misuse Strategy,’ said Mr Cullen.

“These recommendations include minimum pricing, a floor price beneath which alcohol cannot be sold, and Alcohol Action Ireland has brought together a 30-strong coalition of organisations calling for the introduction of minimum pricing, with other members including the Irish Cancer Society, the Irish Medical Organisation, the Irish Heart Foundation and the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland’s Faculty of Public Health Medicine.

“Ireland has the second highest rate of cancer in the world, according to the World Health Organisation, and we also have high levels of alcohol consumption. If we are to reduce the levels of cancer in Ireland and save many lives in the process, we need to take decisive action to reduce our alcohol consumption and the best way to do that is for our Government to tackle the pricing, marketing and availability of alcohol by implementing the recommendations of the Steering Group Report on the National Substance Misuse Strategy without further delay.”


For further information or comment please contact Alcohol Action Ireland Communications Officer Conor Cullen on 01-8780612 or 087-9950186.