If you drink alcohol, how do your drinks add up? Are they
putting your health at risk?
Most of us know smoking causes cancer. But just like tobacco,
alcohol is toxic. Alcohol is a Group One carcinogen which causes at
least seven types of cancer including bowel, breast, mouth and
Nearly 500 adults in the North East are dying each year from
cancers due to alcohol. The figures have been revealed as a
powerful new campaign aimed at reducing alcohol harm in the region
launches today Monday 13 November 2023.
Balance is launching the "Alcohol is Toxic" campaign supported
by Cancer Research UK and local authorities to warn alcohol is a
direct cause of 7 types of cancer [i] - including bowel, breast, liver
throat and mouth cancer.
Only 1 in 3 people in the North East are aware that alcohol
causes cancer and yet nearly half (47%) of adults are drinking
above the Chief Medical Officers' guidelines of no more than 14
units a week - enough to significantly raise their risks [ii].
It also comes as the
UK topped global charts for binge drinking among women [iii] - defined as having at least six drinks in
a single session - with 26% doing this at least once a month.
Just one or two drinks a day can increase the risk of cancer.
Any type of alcohol is carcinogenic, whether beer, wine or
The best way to reduce your risk is to cut down how much and how
often you drink drinking:
Please visit the
ReduceMyRisk.tv website to find free advice and tools to
cut down and links to local alcohol support services.
Ailsa Rutter OBE, Director of Fresh and Balance, said: "Unlike
tobacco, alcohol products don't have warnings about cancer or the
other health risks on the label. But alcohol is a known Group One
carcinogen - and to humans it is toxic.
"2 out of 3 people in the North East are not even aware alcohol
causes cancer but we know there is strong support to have more
information. People have a right to know alcohol is harmful to
"The alcohol industry does not want their customers to know this
health information. That is why campaigns like this are a vital
part of enabling people to make more informed decisions and need to
be part of effective national action. It is unacceptable that there
hasn't been a national alcohol strategy since 2012."
In 2019/20 there were almost 980,000
hospital admissions nationally where the primary reason
or a secondary diagnosis was linked to alcohol - a 4% rise on
2018/19 (broad measure). This represents 5.7% of all hospital
admissions and includes:
As well as cancer, drinking regularly can also damage the liver
and raise our risk of heart disease, high blood pressure
(hypertension) and stroke. It can lead to us gaining weight and
increase the risk of anxiety and depression.
'The treatment I have received from all the staff has been
excellent and could you extend my thanks to them all. A very
thankful and relieved patient'.
Patient, Dermatology Outpatients Department, University Hospital
of North Durham