Help us to stop bowel cancer

Alcohol consumption putting vast majority of Europeans at risk of bowel cancer

Tuesday 4 July 2017

A report by the United European Gastroenterology reveals that people living in the European Union are consuming on average two alcoholic drinks per day, increasing their risk of developing bowel cancer and other digestive cancers by 21 per cent.

The average daily intake of alcoholic drinks was 'moderate' (between 1 and 4 drinks per day) in all 28 EU states, placing these citizens at a heightened risk of both bowel and oesophageal cancer.

'Heavy' drinkers (people that consume more than 4 drinks per day) were found to be at an increased risk of pancreatic, liver and gastric cancer. These three cancers, coupled with bowel and oesophageal cancer, are the five most common digestive cancers worldwide, causing almost three million deaths per year and contributing to over a third of global cancer deaths.

No countries within the EU were found to have 'light' alcohol consumption (on average, less than 1 alcoholic drink per day per capita).

Dr Lisa Wilde, Director of Research and External Affairs at Bowel Cancer UK, says:

“The report highlights the growing evidence of the effect of alcohol on our digestive health. It is estimated that about 11 out of 100 bowel cancers in the UK are linked to alcohol. To keep health risks from alcoholic drinking as low as possible, the UK government have advised both men and women should drink no more than 14 units a week and to try to spread it out over the week.

“We know that 41,200 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer every year, it’s the fourth most common cancer in the UK. There are several known factors that increase your risk of getting the disease. 

“Some of these are things you can’t do anything about, for example, age and genetics. But you can make changes to your lifestyle to help stack the odds against bowel cancer, as well as cutting down on alcohol, also being of a healthy weight, taking more exercise, and stopping smoking will make a real difference.” 

 

It is estimated that about 11 out of 100 bowel cancers in the UK are linked to alcohol

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