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Only one in ten Danes knows that alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer


Only one in ten Danes knows that alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer

23.04.2024 - Alcohol is a significant risk factor for cancer, which most Danes are unaware of. A new survey from the Danish Cancer Society reveals that only 10% of Danes are aware of the link between alcohol and breast cancer. Alarmingly, 75% do not know about the connection between alcohol and cancer in general. Approximately 370 cases of breast cancer in Denmark each year are attributed to alcohol, making up about 7% of all cases.


Professor Anne Tjønneland from the Danish Cancer Society explains that drinking alcohol raises estrogen levels, which increases the growth and cell division in breast tissue, thereby raising the risk of cancer. The risk of breast cancer increases even with an alcohol consumption of about one drink per day, and the risk escalates with higher alcohol intake. Tjønneland notes that the causes of breast cancer are complex and involve a combination of genetic and environmental factors, including lifestyle choices like alcohol consumption. Therefore, it cannot be determined for an individual woman whether she could have avoided breast cancer by drinking less alcohol.


There is a strong demand among Danes for information on this issue. Peter Dalum, Project Manager at the Danish Cancer Society, stresses the importance of educating the public about the possible consequences of alcohol so that they can make informed decisions about their drinking habits. Alcohol is linked to at least seven types of cancer. Adhering to the Health Authority's recommendation of consuming no more than 10 drinks per week minimizes the cancer risk associated with alcohol. Dalum emphasizes the need to raise awareness among Danes about this risk and to change the Danish alcohol culture.


Fortunately, Danes are open to learning more about the potential risks associated with alcohol. 71% believe that there is a need for information on how alcohol increases the risk of cancer.


How are alcohol and cancer connected?

The risk of cancer increases with the amount of alcohol consumed. Even moderate drinking can elevate the risk. Alcohol increases the risk of cancer in the organs it directly contacts, from the mouth to the rectum, and also raises the risk of breast cancer. Alcohol is linked to at least seven types of cancer.


For more information on alcohol and cancer, or to view a short film about the connection, please visit the Danish Cancer Society's website.


 

Alcohol habits in Denmark 2023

The report is based on data from a questionnaire survey among 3,020 Danes aged 18-74 years. The data collection was conducted by the analysis institute Voxmeter from May 8 to July 14, 2023. The data is nationally representative by gender, age, and region.

Read more in the report here.

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