Cancer warning to Sunderland drinkers

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A HARD-HITTING campaign warning drinkers of the dangers of excess boozing is launched across the region today.

Balance, the North East alcohol Office, is aiming to highlight the links between drink and cancer, with alcohol responsible for around 12,500 cases each year in the UK.

The campaign features a TV ad showing a shows a man drinking lager at home, with an object in the glass which turns out to be a tumour.

Balance director Colin Shevills said: “We appreciate this is quite an uncomfortable film to watch but evidence tells us hard-hitting campaigns work and we want to highlight the harms that can be caused by drinking too much, too often.

“Unlike tobacco, very few people associate alcohol with cancer and we need these perceptions to change.

“We need to continue to raise awareness of the potential health impacts caused by alcohol. Alcohol is linked to more than 60 different medical conditions, including liver disease, cancer, osteoporosis, stomach ulcers, raised blood pressure, stroke and dementia.

“As the campaign says, alcohol is a Class 1 carcinogen, like tobacco smoke and asbestos – it shouldn’t be treated like any other commodity.

“Regularly drinking over the recommended limits can put you at risk, so the message here is moderation - the more you cut down, the more you reduce the risk.”

There are seven types of cancer linked to alcohol; mouth, pharyngeal (upper throat), oesophageal (food pipe), laryngeal (voice box), breast cancer, bowel and liver.

Studies show regularly drinking above the recommended limits trebles the chances of developing cancers of the mouth and throat and increases the risk of getting breast cancer by around 20 per cent. Alcohol is one of the main risk factors for liver cancer.

In the latest Balance research carried out across the region, just 21 per cent of people stated that alcohol greatly increases the risk of cancer, with almost as many believing it alcohol does not increase the risk at all.

Department of Health guidelines recommend no more than two-three units a day for women and a maximum of three-four units a day for men, with at least two alcohol-free days per week.

There are two units in a standard 175ml glass of wine (ABV 13 per cent) and three in a pint of strong lager, beer or cider (ABV 5.2 per cent). To get further information and see how much you are drinking, visit