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Alcohol and CANCER

UPCOMING

NordAN conference 2021

Alcohol Policy Interferences - Economic operators, political ideologies and bad data.

Vilnius, Lithuania
November 19-20

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22%

aware of alcohol/cancer link in Denmark (unprompted)

40%

of all cancers are preventable

1000

Swedes die from cancer caused by alcohol, yearly

9.7%

Cancer deaths by alcohol in Lithuania

Alcohol and cancer awareness in Nordic countries

Despite the well-established contribution of alcohol to the burden of cancer, public knowledge of the relationship between alcohol and cancer is low across the world, including Nordic countries.

When we talk about alcohol increasing the risk of cancer, there’s a little more to it than that. That’s because, as the latest research highlights, it’s one of the chemicals alcohol gets broken down into that seems to be one of the main culprits.

Alcohol is broken down via a strict process and converted into energy. And it’s acetaldehyde, at the centre of this chain, that’s the weakest link. If acetaldehyde isn’t broken down further it builds up in cells, where it damages DNA in a way that could cause cancer.

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Alcohol and cancer: This is how booze damages DNA inside cells

By Aine McCarthy

Cancer Research UK

Alcohol and Cancer webinar - What everyone needs to know

May 25, 2021
Eurocare, ECL, WHO Europe

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Daniel Jones - Warnings needed to be seen to be effective

I think the primary role of specific health warnings (e.g. 'alcohol causes mouth cancer') would be informative until the point that public awareness is large enough for them to become reminders, says Daniel Jones, from the Stirling University’s Institute for Social Marketing and Health (ISMH). 

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Alcohol consumption linked to more than 740,000 new cancer cases in 2020

Risky and heavy drinking was estimated to contribute the highest number of cancer cases, but moderate drinking - the equivalent of around two daily drinks - was estimated to lead to more than 103,000 cases in 2020, almost 1 in 7 of all alcohol-associated cases.

Reasons

for low awareness

Alcohol is classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as a Group 1 carcinogen. And we have known it more than 30 years now. The overall awareness of that fact is worryingly low, everywhere. 

Even though many cancer organisations and alcohol policy and harm organisations have done a lot to increase that knowledge, for some reason, it doesn’t seem to work very well. 

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