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Campaign raises awareness of link between alcohol and seven cancers

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council is backing a campaign launched by Balance, the North East Alcohol Office, to raise awareness of the link between alcohol and seven types of cancer.

Almost one million North Easterners are ignoring Government health guidelines and drinking at levels which are putting them at greater risk of seven types of cancer.

A survey carried out by Balance revealed that almost two in five of the region’s adults, around 813,000 people, are regularly drinking more than the recommended daily limits.

Evidence shows that if people regularly drink above the guidelines the risk of developing cancer is higher than non-drinkers.

  • Men are 1.8 to 2.5 times as likely to get cancer of the mouth, neck and throat, and women are 1.2 to 1.7 times as likely.
  • Women are 1.2 times as likely to get breast cancer.
  • Men are twice as likely to develop liver cirrhosis, and women are 1.7 times as likely.
  • Bowel cancer risk is 21% higher in people who drink around 1.5 to 6 units per day.

However, more than 9 in 10 people in the region who regularly drink above the recommended limits believe they are light or moderate drinkers.

These concerning statistics have led Balance to launch its campaign to raise awareness of the link between alcohol and seven cancers including mouth, pharyngeal (upper throat), oesophageal (food pipe), laryngeal (voice box), bowel cancer, breast and liver.

Balance’s campaign aims to make people aware of the hidden harms associated with alcohol and encourage people to think about their intake and, if necessary, cut back to help reduce their risk. The recommended daily limits are 2-3 units for a woman – no more than a standard 175ml glass of wine – or 3-4 units for a man, which is a pint of strong lager.

Councillor Jim Beall, Stockton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Services, said: “We know that excessive alcohol consumption can have a devastating effect on individuals and their families. That’s why we are working with our partners to raise awareness and reduce the harmful impact of drinking, particularly above the recommended limits.

“While many people do drink responsibly, this new campaign from Balance raises awareness of the long-term health risks associated with alcohol and its links to cancer. We hope it encourages people to reconsider their drinking habits.”

The campaign will see a hard-hitting advert aired on television screens over a four-week period. The advert features a woman enjoying lunch and a glass of wine with her partner when she spills some of her drink on her top. The stain changes to show a growing tumour on her breast. You can view the film here –

Visit for more information.


Find out more about Balance and the campaign at and on Twitter @BalanceNE. Tweet with #7cancers.

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