Norwegian Cancer Society

NCS works continuously to improve society’s attitude to the prevention and treatment of cancer. They fight cancer locally, nationally and globally through research and preventive measures, information, support, advice and lobbying.

Alcohol and cancer

Research shows that even low alcohol consumption increases the risk of cancer, and there is no safe limit.


2007: Article (the first on this topic) on www.kreftforeningen.no "Be careful with alcohol". Messaging the risk that alcohol can lead to cancer and that the risk increases the more you drink.


2008: NCS invited professionals/experts from the Danish Cancer Society (doctor/researcher Anne Tjønneland, Morten Strunge Meyer and Hans Storm) to a meeting to discuss the health authorities' national advice on alcohol and cancer based on the WCRF report (2007).

The purpose of this meeting was to update our advice on cancer and the information on our website. The Cancer Registry of Norway, by researcher Kristine Kjærheim attended the meeting, as well as an alcohol scientist from University in Tromsø.

NCS kept a relatively «low profile» regarding alcohol-work apart from having updated information on our website until 2013. 


2013: NCS created an activity plan for alcohol and cancer. 


2014: NCS applied for funding for the alcohol work in 2015 from The Norwegian Directorate of Health (application granted). Objective: Increase knowledge of the relationship between alcohol and cancer and contribute to eliminate myths about alcohol and health.


2015: NCS invited to a consensus meeting on alcohol and cancer, where Kristina Kjærheim from the Cancer Registry presented her research on alcohol and cancer. Invited current partners from the Danish Cancer Society (Anne Tjønneland), Directorate of Health, Norwegian Institute of Public health (NIPH), Sirus, the National Association for Heart- and Lung Diseases, Norwegian Medical Association, Actis, Vinmonopolet, Av og TiL. The purpose of the meeting was to establish a knowledge base and to discuss communication about alcohol and health.

In the summer of 2015, we had a guest blog on the Cancer Society's blog: «I choose an alcohol-free summer» 

Media Attention on Alcohol and Cancer in August 2015. More alcohol can lead to more cancer https://www.vg.no/forbruker/helse/i/QLbGJ/frykter-oekt-alkoholinntak-vil-gi-flere-tilfeller-av-kreftverstingene 

Actis Secretary-General had a blog in August 2015. Uncomfortable knowledge.

NCS participated with a booth at the "Women of the Time" conference "in the fall. Sticker and small folders "What you should know about alcohol" were handed out at the booth. Alcohol-free and colourful drinks (barkeeper hired) were served. About 200 participants at the conference and the booth had a lot of visitors. This was a test of how women received the message (many of them were not aware that a glass a day is actually NOT healthy for your heart).

Questions and answers and myths about alcohol and cancer were produced and posted on our website

NCS interviewed about the newly published BMJ-article in 2015. Light to moderate intake of alcohol, drinking patterns, and risk of cancer.


2016: A representative survey conducted by Sentio for Actis found that 7 out of 10 women were not aware of the association between alcohol and cancer.

NCS made a promotional film "One glass less is enough - Enjoy life long" to be launched in June (before the summer holidays) together with a blog by Ruth Donavan on the theme. The campaign was postponed until after the summer break (at school start), and unfortunately drowned in everything else that happened (we achieved little visibility). This film is still on our website and on Youtube

Present at the National Nursing Congress 2016 (September) where approx. 1200 nurses attended:

Booth with the theme - Alcohol and cancer "A glass less is enough". Financed with project funds from the Directorate of Health which was spent on planning and arranging this event and also to create and produce fact sheets and leaflets.

Collaboration with the producer of non-alcoholic beverages (they served drinks at the booth). Shared information and distributed fact sheets and leaflets on alcohol and cancer, especially directed to health professionals aiming to kill myths and increase knowledge about the relationship between alcohol and cancer.

The information we conveyed was - Did you know that:

• 7 out of 10 Norwegian women do not know that there is a connection between alcohol and cancer

• Over half of Norwegian women drink alcohol in their everyday lives

• Alcohol consumption has increased by 40 per cent over the last 20 years and most among highly educated women

• Men drink more than women, but in recent years wine consumption among women has tripled

• Even low alcohol consumption can increase the risk of cancer

November 2016 alcohol blog by Secretary-General in NCS. NCS doesn´t preach zero, but some glasses less. If everyone cut some glasses, we would see it on the cancer statistics.


2017: Received project-funding from the Directorate of Health. Alcohol prevention work, targeting workplaces. This was primarily a two years project, but we received funding for one year. This was a collaboration project with Av-og-Til. 

NCS entered a cooperation agreement with the consultancy firm LiveWork to develop the project (June - December) to conduct interviews in a selection of workplaces. Insight report 10.11.17 with recommendations for pursuing the project. 


2018: NCS handed over the continuation of the project to Av-og-Til for the second year of the project, but their application was not granted. They continued the work of making alcohol policy for workplaces/businesses without external funding. 

November 2018, Secretary-General of NCS, Anne Lise Ryel was invited to WHO Euro meeting in Edinburgh to hold a presentation with the title: The role of civil society in advocating for policy measures to reduce the risk of alcohol-attributable cancers.

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Carina Alm: In contrast to the other risk factors, alcohol is not framed or perceived as only unhealthy

Lauri Beekmann: Norway is far ahead compared to most of the countries in the world when it comes to alcohol policy and understanding of alcohol related-harm. How do you estimate the knowledge of alcohol as a cancer risk? How well is it understood? Is it considered when cancer prevention is discussed?

Carina Alm: The data we have from different national surveys show that Norwegians aren’t much more knowledgeable than others when it comes to understanding the link between alcohol and cancer. 


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