Drinkaware welcomes the 2017 Awareness Week on Alcohol Related Harm (AWARH), which aims to get EU and national policy makers to pledge to address alcohol related harm in Europe. The theme for this year’s AWARH is Alcohol and Cancer, and according to the HSE, 900 people are diagnosed with alcohol-related cancers each year in Ireland and roughly 500 die as a result.
Liam Twomey, Chief Medical Officer at Drinkaware, said:
“As a general practitioner, I am increasingly concerned at the lack of awareness among my patients of the very real connection between alcohol misuse and a range of cancers. Misusing alcohol increases the risk of at least seven cancers - mouth, throat, breast, bowel, liver, oesophagus, and larynx. Without realising, people who regularly drink above the HSE low-risk guidelines are putting their health at significant and unnecessary risk.
It’s simple – the more you drink, the higher your cancer risk. Even just one drink a day will increase the risk of breast, mouth and throat cancers by a small amount. There’s no safe limit for alcohol when it comes to cancer, but the risk is smaller for people who drink within the HSE low-risk guidelines for alcohol consumption. We would ask people to review their alcohol consumption – especially as we head into the Christmas season, when there are typically more opportunities to binge drink at parties.”
Research shows people need simple, clear information on the link with risky alcohol consumption and diseases like cancer. Drinkaware provides information and tools to help people to understand their drinking habits and practical advice to make a change and reduce health risks.
Niamh Gallagher, CEO of Drinkaware, said
“It’s great to see alcohol awareness groups and healthcare advocates joining forces under the AWARH brand to tackle alcohol-related harm together. We at Drinkaware are delighted to mark the week by raising awareness on the very real risks associated with alcohol and a range of cancers. With the upcoming Public Health (Alcohol) Bill very much in the news, and new measures such as minimum unit pricing being brought in to address problem alcohol use; people are becoming increasingly aware that they may need to change their habits to avoid serious health consequences.
Drinkaware research has identified that 39% of adults specified physical health as the strongest influence in making positive changes in relation to their drinking habits. Simple tools like our Standard Drink Measure Cup or online Drinks Calculator make it easier for people to manage their drinking habits and provide an accessible way to proactively manage their own drinking. As always, we are encouraging people to follow the HSE low-risk guidelines which recommends at least two alcohol-free days per week.”
The fourth Awareness Week on Alcohol Related Harm will consist of a week of integrated activities by groups all over Europe. The AWARH offers an opportunity for everyone concerned to come together and work towards actions that would reduce alcohol related harm in Europe. Follow and support AWARH’17 on social media with hashtag #awarh17.