Latest study shows majority of women don’t realise the link between breast cancer and alcohol

Just over a third of women are aware of the link between alcohol and breast cancer - despite evidence that any level of regular drinking raises the risks.

That is the finding of a new survey from Balance, The North East Alcohol Office, as a campaign launches across the region urging women to reduce their drinking and reduce the risks.

It also found that nearly one in five women (19%) are drinking above the Chief Medical Officer’s recommended limit of consuming no more than 14 units per week to stay “low risk” from a range of health conditions, including cancer.

Colin Shevills, director ofBalance.

Balance, the North East Alcohol Office, is relaunching its Spot of Lunch campaign across TV, online and Facebook in a bid to inform women across the region to help them make more informed choices.

Colin Shevills, director of Balance, said: “Like tobacco, alcohol causes cancer and with breast cancer, evidence is clear there is no ‘safe’ level of drinking. Even relatively low levels of regular alcohol consumption can increase the risk.

“This is not about scaremongering but raising awareness of a risk women have a right to know about.”

It’s only by making people more aware that they can make informed choices.”

Dr Tony Branson, Consultant Clinical Oncologist, breast cancer specialist, and a clinical lead for the Northern Cancer Alliance, said: “Alcohol increases the risk of at least seven different types of cancer, including bowel, mouth, liver and breast cancer. It is in the same cancer-causing category as tobacco and asbestos.

“There are a number of ways alcohol can cause cancer, but alcohol can increase the levels of certain hormones in the body, including oestrogen. High levels of oestrogen can fuel the development of breast cancer.

“Although age and family history are the biggest risk factors, drinking over the recommended levels will significantly raise the risks. Thankfully breast cancer survival is improving and has doubled in the last 40 years in the UK. However – we are also seeing rising rates of diagnosis including more women under 50.”

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