Council support for 'Alcohol Causes Cancer' campaign

Northumberland County Council is among the organisations backing a new regional initiative with a stark message – ‘Alcohol Causes Cancer’.

Wednesday, 24th November 2021, 2:00 pm
Liz Morgan, director of public health at Northumberland County Council.

The campaign by Balance, the North East of England’s alcohol programme, and the NHS warns that alcohol can cause at least seven types of cancer including breast, bowel, mouth and throat cancer.

It was a record year for alcohol deaths in England in 2020, with the North East having the worst rates.

And separate cancer figures show that 3,145 people in the region were diagnosed with an alcohol-related cancer between 2016 and 2018.

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Northumberland County Council' s director of public health, Liz Morgan, said: “Northumberland County Council is committed to reducing the harms of alcohol.

“It is recognised that alcohol use has increased during the Covid-19 pandemic and many Northumberland residents are at increased risk of ill health as a result.

“Alcohol use is linked to a range of health conditions and can increase the risk of at least seven types of cancer. We are supporting Balance’s Alcohol Causes Cancer campaign and are encouraging people to reduce their risk by reducing their alcohol use.”

A major survey in the North East by Balance – one of the largest in-depth studies of alcohol consumption in any English region during the pandemic – found that rates of alcohol consumption are potentially storing up more health problems for the future.

For example, four in 10 adults, or an estimated 855,000 people, and six out of 10 men were drinking above Chief Medical Officer’s low-risk guidelines of no more than 14 units a week. Heavier drinkers were most likely to have increased their drinking.

Sue Taylor, head of alcohol policy for Balance, said “The North East saw the highest death rates from alcohol in England during 2020.

“And heavier drinking is storing up even more health problems, which will be seen in hospitals and communities in years to come.

“It is particularly worrying that we are seeing such high rates of drinking, especially in men and people in their 40s and 50s.

“We know many people would like to drink less, but this campaign gives a really important reason to cut down.”