Call for more awareness of cancer risks with alcohol consumption

Hundreds of people are suffering from cancers related to alcohol consumption. Picture: Dirk Koeberni

Hundreds of people are suffering from cancers related to alcohol consumption. Picture: Dirk Koebernik - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Hundreds of people in North Somerset are suffering from cancers linked to alcohol consumption.

According to figures from NHS Digital, 265 people were suffering from a cancer linked to drinking between 2015 and 2017.

Alcohol increases the risk of diseases such as liver, colorectal, breast and oral cancer even if it is consumed in small amounts.

Lodee Dudley, North Somerset Council's public health consultant said: "It is well known that heavy alcohol use can cause liver damage, but studies have also shown an association with drinking alcohol and a range of cancers.

"The risk is higher amongst heavy alcohol users, but no amount of alcohol use can be considered risk-free.

"Lower risk drinking of no more than 14 units of alcohol a week can help to reduce the risk of developing alcohol-related cancers as well as other alcohol-related harms such as heart disease and stroke.

"It is important that we consider how all of our lifestyle behaviours reduce our overall cancer risk including not smoking, being a healthy weight and eating healthily, being physically active, avoiding too much sun exposure and taking up routine screening opportunities - breast, cervical and colorectal."

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According to the NHS, alcohol misuse is the biggest risk factor for death, ill-health and disability among 15-49 year olds in the UK, and the fifth biggest risk factor across all ages.

Cancer Research UK is calling for more awareness on the health risks associated with alcohol consumption.

Katie Patrick, the charity's health information officer, said: "We need to keep raising awareness of the link between alcohol and cancer, so to give us a helping hand, all alcohol labelling should highlight it.

"Alcohol gets in to our bloodstream and can cause damage all around the body.

"This doesn't mean everyone who drinks alcohol will develop cancer.

"But when we look at the whole population, people who drink alcohol are more likely to develop cancer than people who don't.

"No matter how much or how often you drink, cutting down reduces your risk. Think about having more drink free days, or switching up your social activities to things that don't involve alcohol."