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Swedish Study Reveals Knowledge Gap on Alcohol Increasing Cancer Risk

Updated: Apr 10, 2023

27.03.2023 - A new survey conducted by Sifo reveals that one in five Swedes is unaware that alcohol consumption increases the risk of cancer. The knowledge gap, however, becomes even more significant regarding low alcohol consumption. 9 out of 10 Swedes are unaware that even small amounts of alcohol increase cancer risk.

Cancer is one of the world's most significant public health issues, and alcohol is one of the modifiable risk factors, according to the WHO and the Public Health Agency of Sweden. The survey, commissioned by a new initiative led by the Regional Cancer Centers, questioned over 4,000 Swedes and found that one in five is unaware of the connection between alcohol and cancer.

Research is clear that there are no safe amounts of alcohol consumption – the higher the consumption, the greater the risk of cancer. Alcohol is linked to an increased risk for seven types of cancer: breast, mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, colorectal, and liver cancer. It is also a significant risk factor for breast cancer-related deaths among women.

In the survey, 4 out of 10 Swedes reported that they would change their alcohol habits if they knew it increased the risk of cancer. Lena Sharp, who started the initiative to raise awareness about the link between alcohol and cancer, emphasizes that everyone has the right to know that there is no safe level of alcohol consumption.

To increase knowledge about the connection between alcohol and cancer, the initiative is backed by various organizations in Sweden. They aim to raise awareness through a knowledge website and informational materials during March, coinciding with the European-wide campaign "Cancer Prevention Across Europe," which focuses on the European Code Against Cancer.

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