Ahead of World Cancer Day on February 4th Drinkaware is urging the public to be aware of the link between alcohol and the risk of developing certain cancers, and how changes to drinking habits can help reduce that risk.
Last year’s national survey found that 1 in 3 Irish adults have already made positive changes to their drinking habits[i], 1 in 4 said they were drinking less and a further 25% said they would like to change their drinking habits.
Alcohol is a modifiable risk factor for at least seven types of cancer[ii]which means that lifestyle changes, including reducing alcohol consumption, can reduce the health risk.
Drinkaware believes the HSE low-risk weekly guidelines are a good starting point as it is important to know what low risk drinking is. However, despite half of the adult population drinking on a weekly basis[iii], only 2% know these low-risk guidelines[iv].
Not knowing what low-risk drinking is, makes it difficult to ensure you are drinking within or under the guidelines. And drinking above them puts you at increased risk of alcohol-related cancers, and other harms.
From the hundreds of thousands of interactions Drinkaware has every year with the general public, we know people are interested in reducing their drinking. And we know that a main driver for this is physical health. These positive intentions and changes are important but can be daunting, and need to be encouraged. That’s why we provide information, advice and tips on this website. Support from others, especially those in your household, can also be really helpful, especially when it comes to cultivating new positive habits that can last long beyond the pandemic.
World Cancer Day gives us all the chance to focus on the lifestyle changes we can make for the better to support long-term health and there’s a wealth of help and information to support this on these pages, and also at www.hse.ie and www.mariekeating.ie.
i Drinkaware Barometer, B&A, 2020, ii Modifiable risk factors and cancer in Ireland. National Cancer Registry Ireland, 2020. iii Drinkaware Index, B&A, 2019 iv https://www2.hse.ie/wellbeing/alcohol/improve-your-health/weekly-low-risk-alcohol-guidelines.html