April is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month

April is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month

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According to the Irish Cancer Society, bowel cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in Ireland with the latest figures showing that over 2,500 people are diagnosed every year. Around 1,000 people die from the disease annually, making it the second most common cause of cancer death in Ireland. BowelScreen has the following tips to reduce the risk of developing bowel cancer:

  • be more physically active;
  • eat a diet with plenty of dietary fibre such as fruit, vegetables and wholegrain bread, brown rice and cereals;
  • reduce intake of processed and red meat;
  • keep a healthy weight;
  • limit the amount of alcohol you take;
  • take part in the BowelScreen programme when invited.

The 2016 Healthy Ireland Survey found that just 40% of people were aware of the increased risk of bowel cancer for those who regularly drink more than the HSE low-risk guidelines. Take some time this month to get the facts about alcohol, make a change and reduce your risk.

Don’t exceed the guidelines

Keep any eye on how much you drink on average each week. Sticking to the low-risk guidelines can help to reduce your risk of developing bowel cancer and a range of other health conditions. Remember, these are guidelines - not a target. 

  • 11 standard drinks (110g pure alcohol) spread out over the week for women, with at least two alcohol-free days
  • 17 standard drinks (170g pure alcohol) spread out over the week for men, with at least two alcohol-free days

Take our quick quiz to find out if you are drinking within the guidelines

Make small changes

Drinkaware research from 2017 shows that 1 in 3 people in Ireland would like to drink less often. Small changes to the way you consume alcohol and how much you drink can make a big difference to your health and wellbeing both now and in the future. The next time you drink alcohol, why not try some of our quick tips?

  • If you usually drink pints of beer or cider, why not opt for a bottle or half pint instead?
  • Always finish one glass of wine before pouring another. Topping up makes it harder to track how much you are drinking.
  • Alcohol dehydrates the body. Alternating each drink with water will help keep you hydrated.
  • Swap out your usual full strength drink for a low-alcohol alternative.

Try out our drinks calculator to see the number of standard drinks and calories in different drinks, as well as how much money you spent and how long it will take for the alcohol to fully leave your system.

Visit the Irish Cancer Society website to learn about the signs and symptoms of bowel cancer