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Balance calls for greater awareness of link between alcohol and cancer

Balance alcohol and cancer campaign advert

Balance alcohol and cancer campaign advert

Posted 18/11/16

Balance is backing calls to raise awareness of the links between alcohol and at least seven types of cancer, as a new Cancer Research UK report predicts around 135,000 alcohol-related cancer deaths in the UK over the next twenty years. 

The report, released today (Friday 18 November), and also coinciding with Alcohol Awareness Week, forecasts an estimated extra £2 billion in cancer costs by 2025 and around 6,700 cancer deaths in the UK every year that are associated with alcohol. 
Meanwhile in the North East, Balance’s analysis of the findings predicts that there will be almost 100,000 more alcohol-related cancer hospital admissions in our region over the next 20 years. Yet a recent CRUK study found awareness is still at a low level, with just one in 10 people aware of the links between alcohol and cancer. 
In a bid to raise awareness, Balance is currently running a campaign highlighting the links between alcohol and at least seven types of cancer. The second burst of the campaign this year, which focuses on breast cancer, was launched after its evaluation showed people who had seen last years’ campaign were twice as likely to be aware of the connection between alcohol and breast cancer as those who hadn’t.
Colin Shevills, Director of Balance, the North East Alcohol Office, commented: “The new Cancer Research report suggests if we don’t do more to address the issue, we’re likely to see alarming rates of alcohol-related cancer deaths and hospital admissions over the next 20 years. 
“In the North East alone, it’s predicted we’ll see around 100,000 hospital admissions for alcohol-related cancers in those 20 years, but still awareness levels of the links between alcohol and at least seven types of cancer, remain at a low level. We know that mass-media campaigns have an impact and awareness levels in our region are growing, but much more needs to be done if we believe people have a right to know the risks associated with alcohol consumption.” 
Earlier this year, the Chief Medical Officers’ carried out the first independent, expert review of the alcohol drinking guidelines in 20 years. 
Colin continued: “The recommended drinking limits were set at 14 units of alcohol per week for both men and women by the Chief Medical Officers this year, and they highlight evidence which shows even low levels of drinking can increase your risk of developing a range of medical conditions, including cancer. 
“We know many people underestimate how much they drink and how many units we’ve had can be a tricky thing to work out. In order to help people make informed choices about how much they drink, we need to provide them with the information they need to think about their alcohol consumption and what they can do to reduce their risk. 
“Cancer affects so many people and while there are lots of reasons people develop it, alcohol is one we can do something about. In continuing to raise awareness, we hope to reverse some of the worrying impacts we’re seeing on our nation’s health, highlighted in this latest report.” 
Balance’s ‘Spot of Lunch’ campaign runs until the end of November 2016. It features the thought-provoking ‘Spot of Lunch’ TV advert and a newly refreshed website.
The campaign film shows a woman enjoying lunch and a glass of wine with her partner when she spills some of the drink on her top. The stain changes to show a growing tumour on her breast. 
For more information about Balance’s alcohol and cancer campaign and to see the TV advert, visit