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Alcohol and cancer go together – reduce your risk

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Today on World Cancer Day, the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) and Cancer Council ACT are reminding people that by reducing your drinking, you can reduce your risk of cancer.

Alcohol is linked to cancer in at least seven sites in the body and is responsible for around 3,500 cancer cases in Australia each year.

FARE CEO, Ms Caterina Giorgi, said that the link between alcohol and cancer is well-established.

“The more alcohol you drink, the greater the risk of cancer in the mouth, throat, breast, liver, and bowel,” Ms Giorgi said.

“World Cancer Day is an opportunity for us to remind ourselves of the link between alcohol and cancer and that, reducing the amount of alcohol you drink can reduce your risk of cancer, and deliver significant short and long-term health improvements.”

This comes as an evaluation report by FARE shows awareness of the link between alcohol and cancer in people aged 25-65 years in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) increased due to an award-winning campaign called Reduce Your Risk.

The report measured the impact of FARE’s Reduce Your Risk campaign from July to September 2021 and tracked a dramatic increase in the number of people aged 25-65 years who are aware of the link between alcohol and cancer and can name one or more types of cancer caused by alcohol, including:

  • colon or bowel cancer – increase from 46 per cent pre-campaign to 72 per cent post-campaign (+26 per cent)
  • head and neck cancers – increase from 28 per cent pre-campaign to 63 per cent post-campaign (+35 per cent)
  • breast cancer – increase from 27 per cent pre-campaign to 39 per cent post-campaign (+12 per cent).

The report also found an increase in people aware of the updated Australian Guidelines to reduce health risks of drinking alcohol (Alcohol Guidelines) who could correctly identify the recommended daily or weekly maximum numbers of standard drinks to reduce the risk of alcohol-related disease or injury.

People in the ACT who were aware of the Alcohol Guidelines and could correctly recall the advice to have no more than four standard drinks in a day increased from 6 per cent to 24 per cent (+18 per cent), while those aware of the recommendation to have no more than 10 standard drinks in a week increased from 21 per cent to 38 per cent (+17 per cent).

FARE CEO, Caterina Giorgi, said the campaign demonstrates the crucial need for trusted sources to raise awareness and empower people with the advice they need to make informed decisions.

“There have been a lot of mixed messages about the health risks of alcohol, and this means many people are unaware that alcohol is a cause of a range of cancers,” Ms Giorgi said

“This campaign provided the community with clear information and resources about alcohol and cancer from a trusted source.”

Cancer Council ACT CEO Verity Hawkins said as we work toward a cancer-free future, awareness and prevention are key areas of concern.

“Cancer Council ACT welcomes the achievements of the Reduce Your Risk campaign,” Ms Hawkins said.

“The campaign has highlighted a gap in awareness around the link between alcohol and cancer, and it has done some amazing work in bringing this issue to the forefront in our community.”

FARE would like to thank the ACT Government Health Promotion Grants Program for its support in funding the awareness campaign and the West Australian Mental Health Commission for licensing the campaign for use in the ACT.

For more information about the link between alcohol and cancer and for tips to reduce your risk visit the Reduce Your Risk website.

Media contact

0429 291 120
media@fare.org.au

FARE is an informed media source and a well-respected voice on the global science relating to alcohol and its impact on society.

If you are a journalist seeking media spokespeople or information please do not hesitate to contact us. FARE can provide expert comment on a wide range of alcohol-related issues.

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