Men’s Health Week 2018 takes place from 11th to 17th June and we are delighted to support this important initiative, which aims to:
We are proud to join the call to ask men one simple question: What’s your small step to improve your health and wellbeing going to be? There are many positive steps you could take but we are encouraging men to reduce their weekly alcohol consumption. Throughout Men’s Health Week, we will be empowering men across the country to take small steps to drink less alcohol by highlighting some of the different impacts alcohol can have and the positive changes you can make.
According to the Marie Keating Foundation, 1 in 3 men in Ireland will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. But did you know that 4 in 10 cancers are preventable? Alcohol is known to cause at least seven different types of cancer. Any amount increases the cancer risk. Even just one drink a day will increase the risk of mouth, throat and oesophageal (foodpipe) cancers by a small amount. Here are some cancer statistics specific to men in Ireland:
If you drink and smoke, your cancer risk increases. Why? Alcohol makes it easier for other harmful chemicals, such as those found in tobacco smoke, to enter the cells lining the mouth, throat, larynx (voicebox) and oesophagus (foodpipe). This is why the combination of smoking and drinking is much more likely to cause these cancers than either smoking or drinking alone.
Evidence shows being overweight or obese increases the risk of some cancers including bowel, pancreatic and gallbladder. Alcohol has a high calorie content but these are ‘empty calories’ with no nutritional value or benefit. What many people don’t realise however, is that alcohol can also contain a lot of sugar. Drinking regularly will increase your calorie and sugar intake so it’s a good idea to get the facts on the amounts of each in alcohol.
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. Take small steps to drink less to help lower your cancer risk.
Think honestly about your drinking habits and ask yourself some questions. How much do you drink in a regular week or month? Maybe you have noticed you are drinking alone more often than before or you are finding more reasons to drink alcohol. Has your drinking started to affect your work? Perhaps you haven’t worked out as much lately due to alcohol. Now ask yourself if you could drink less. You are not alone – 1 in 3 men in Ireland would like to drink less alcohol. The good news is that this is easier than you might think and small changes to how you drink can make a big difference.
Are you drinking within the HSE low-risk guidelines for alcohol consumption? Less than 3% of Irish adults can correctly identify the guidelines but they are important to know and can help you to see how much you are really drinking over the week. Remember, these are guidelines - not a target.
Common examples of one standard drink are a half pint of lager/stout/cider, a 100ml glass of wine or pub measure (35.5ml) of spirits. This means a man’s weekly guidelines is roughly eight pints of beer, which is less than many people think. On average, it takes one hour for the body to process one standard drink and there's no quick fix - only time.
Stuck for ideas? Here are some small steps you could take to drink less alcohol. Remember, everyone’s motivation for drinking less is different so it’s important to choose small steps that work for you.