Sunderland drinkers at higher risk of seven types of cancer

An awareness campaign has been launched to highlight the links between alcohol use and cancer.

Balance – the North East Alcohol Office – wants to raise awareness of the risks of mouth, bowel and throat cancers among drinkers.

Colin Shevills of Balance.

Colin Shevills of Balance.

It comes as new data shows Sunderland drinkers are more likely than the national average to be drinking above the recommended limits.

The hard-hitting campaign urges people to take action to reduce their risk of seven types of cancer by taking more days off drinking.

Sales figures show enough alcohol is being sold in the North East for drinkers to consume 22.3 units per week on average compared to the Chief Medical Officer’s guidance which recommends no more than 14 units.

That compares to the England and Wales average of 20.8 units sold per drinker.

The recycling bin can show you just how much you are drinking

Colin Shevills, Director of Balance

Alcohol causes nearly a third (30%) of mouth and pharynx (throat) cancers, over a fifth (21%) of oesophageal cancers, over one in 10 (12%) bowel cancers, 9% of liver cancers, 25% of laryngeal cancers and 6% of breast cancers.

Most recent data shows that nearly a third (32%) of all new cancer cases registered in the North East – some 5,374 in 2015 – were made up of these cancer types.

Colin Shevills, director of Balance, said: “It is everyone’s right to know the fact that regular drinking, even one drink a day, increases your risk of some types of cancer, even if that might feel hard to accept.

“One of the problems is we have very low awareness of the risks.

Many people think they are drinking moderately, but are actually in the higher risk category.

“Cutting down on alcohol consumption can reduce people’s risk and it is sometimes easier than you might think.”