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Alcohol consumption causing high UK cancer rates

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A health expert is highlighting the UK’s alcohol intake after comparing US and UK figures on cancer.

The two countries have similar rates of cancer cases deemed preventable by eating a diet of fresh fruit and veg, exercising and drinking less alcohol. About a third (80,000) of the UK’s cases could be avoided by following this advice, figures suggest.

But a new analysis reveals the US has a similar figure, despite higher rates of obesity. Although rates of obesity are lower in the UK, Britons drink more alcohol.

For example, an estimated 20% of breast cancer cases in the UK are linked to drinking too much - double the estimate for the US.

Professor Martin Wiseman, scientific and medical adviser for the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF), said: “One reason the overall situation in the UK is as bad is the amount of alcohol we drink.

“This means we need to do more to raise awareness that alcohol increases cancer risk.”

Each year in the UK, 7,450 cases of mouth, pharynx and larynx cancer are diagnosed, of which 4,992 are estimated to be preventable.

There are another 7,828 cases of oesophageal cancer, of which 5,871 could be prevented.

Of 39,025 cases of lung cancer, 12,878 could be prevented while 3,471 cases of stomach cancer could be prevented out of 7,714.

Other cancers affected by lifestyle include prostate, pancreatic, gallbladder, liver, kidney and bowel.

  • 1 Comment

Readers' comments (1)

  • Martin Gray

    Do people that drink alcohol smoke or vice versa? I find the statistics hard to support that the cancers stated above are down to alcohol consumption alone, as many can also be related to smoking/chewing tobacco, poor diet, lack of exercise, age, etc.

    The alcohol consumption of the UK is highlighted on an amost nightly basis throughout large cities and towns, even in remote areas.

    We see media reports of the behaviour of our younger poulation when they go abroad; we see the effects in A&E departments and mental health wards.

    We already KNOW the dangers, but if you turned the figures into percentages they would appear insignificant; who is going to care if their risk of throat cancer is 0.05% higher because they drink?

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