Bowel Cancer Awareness Month 2018

  posted on

According to the Irish Cancer Society, bowel cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in Ireland with the latest figures showing that over 2,700 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. However, it is highly preventable and treatable if diagnosed early through screening. Reducing how much alcohol you drink is just one of the ways you can lower your cancer risk.

BowelScreen - the HSE’s National Bowel Screening Programme - is urging everyone aged 60 to 69 to avail of its free home test. BowelScreen also 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 alcohol 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

Try out our Drinks Calculator to see if you are drinking within the guidelines


Our latest research 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?
  • Use a measure to pour spirits and wine, like our Standard Drink measure cup
  • 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.