Blog: Why I'm backing the #7Cancers campaign...
As a family doctor, I see patients every day who have been affected by cancer.
There are lots of reasons people get cancer, but drinking alcohol is one of the things we can control. What many people don’t realise is the risk of developing cancer and other medical conditions increases with any amount of alcohol you drink.
If you’ve seen Balance’s alcohol and cancer campaign and are maybe thinking about cutting back on how much you drink, this blog offers a few tips on how to get started.
As a starting point I recommend tracking how much alcohol you have over a week or two. The easiest way to do this is to use an app to keep a note of how much you’re really having. One You has a great free drinks tracker, or you can just make a note as you go along.
Try to record what drink you’re having (beer, wine, vodka, for example), how much of it you’re having (standard glass, pint etc) and how many you have. That way you can work out how many units of alcohol you’re having.
If you’re unsure of what a unit is, then NHS Choices has a handy guide.
Once you know how many units you’re drinking, you can compare this to the guidelines – men and women should have no more than 14 units a week and these units should be spread out through the week while still having some alcohol-free days. A lot of people are surprised when they do track their drinks as they find out they’re actually drinking more than they think.
You don’t have to cut out alcohol altogether to feel the benefits – even just by cutting back and having some alcohol-free days you should notice you sleep better and maybe feel less tired or anxious.
You can still enjoy nights out too – if you’re out with friends a good tip to cut back is to avoid getting into rounds, that way you can control how much you’re drinking. You can also try and alternate your alcoholic drinks with soft drinks or choose lower strength drinks.
So, if you’re thinking about cutting back, hopefully this blog has given you a few starting points on how to approach it. If you’d like to find out a little more, then the One You website has lots of information.
Dr John Green, GP
Prudhoe Medical Group, Northumberland