North East charity Balance has warned the public that regular alcohol consumption can increase the risk of breast cancer.
Studies show only 38% of North East women were aware that alcohol raises this risk – the equivalent to four in 10 women. Balance have launched a new campaign, ‘Spot of Lunch’, to raise awareness of the issue.
It is also found that 19% of North East women are drinking above the Chief Medical Officer’s recommended limit of no more than 14 units per week. According to research, alcohol increases the levels of certain hormones, such as oestrogen, in the body; high levels of oestrogen can fuel the development of breast cancer.
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.
“Alcohol is embedded in our culture– we now live in an age of ‘wine o’clock’ on our social media pages and prosecco T-shirts, door signs and cushion covers. It might seem like harmless fun but this sweeps under the carpet the risk to health.”
The alcohol industry currently spends approximately £800 million on advertising each year in the UK. Meanwhile, it is estimated one child a day in the North East is admitted to hospital due to alcohol-related causes.
Balance advise the most effective way to reduce drinking is to introduce alcohol free days during the week, slowly bringing the levels down.
Laurence Leong from cancer research supported the awareness campaign and recommended using My Alcohol Tracker on the App Store. He said: “The app allows you to set goals and manage your own personal alcohol consumption.”