Alcohol awareness campaign warns region exceeding the ‘low risk’ intake raises the risk of cancer

Balance, a North East alcohol awareness charity, is relaunching its “Can’t See It” campaign to highlight that drinking increases the risks of several different types of cancer.

The first two phases of the “Can’t See It” campaign resulted in nearly 30 per cent of adults saying they felt they should be more aware of their drinking, and almost one in 10 felt they should cut down or stop drinking altogether, an estimated 90,000 people in each phase.

Colin Shevills, Director of Balance, said: “While we have seen higher awareness of the link between alcohol and cancer in the North East, the fact that fewer than four in ten women were aware of this link is a concern.

“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.”

According to research, more than one in four North East drinkers and one in five North east women are drinking above the Chief Medical Officer’s guidelines of drinking no more than 14 units per week to stay “low risk” from a range of health conditions, including cancer.

Studies show almost half a million North East people are exceeding the ‘low risk’ alcohol intake of 14 units per week by under-estimating how much they drink.

Over 84 per cent of people drinking above 14 units per week consider themselves to be light or moderate drinkers. An estimated 408,189 adults in our region drink at increasing or higher risk levels while under-estimating their own drinking risks.

Balance encourages people to take at least two or three days off drinking every week.

Balance is working closely with Dr Sarah Louden, a Cancer GP lead for Newcastle Gateshead CCG. Dr Louden believes more women need to be aware of the links between alcohol and cancer. She said: “The evidence is clear that the more you regularly drink, the higher your chance of developing breast cancer at some point.

“That risk depends on alcohol content and how many drinks you have. We know many people underestimate their units – for example a large glass of wine can contain at least three units.”

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