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IOGT International is the largest worldwide community of non-governmental organisations with a mission to independently enlighten people around the world of a lifestyle free from alcohol and other drugs.
#LifeSetFree #HeartDriven 

For immediate release: February 04, 2013

Contact: Maik Dünnbier
Policy and Communication Officer
Mobile: +46 721 555 036
E-mail: maik.duennbier@iogt.org
Twitter: @maikduennbier


Alcohol Causes Cancer Yet Many Still Believe It Is Healthy

Four Facts You Need To Know on Today's World Cancer Day

Science knows about the correlation of cancer and alcohol use since the 1980s. The IARC, (International Agency for Research in Cancer), the WHO’s research body, classifies alcohol since 1988 as causing cancer. But similar awareness among decision-makers and broader public has not caught up until the very recent.  In the meantime a body of evidence has emerged showing how strong the correlation between alcohol use and cancer risk, in fact, is: alcohol is one of the biggest risk factors for cancer diseases.
Moreover cancer is not only a public health issue, and not only a ”rich world” problem, but has wide-reaching social, economic, development and Human Rights implications. Simply put: it can wreak havoc on economies.
World Cancer Day is an important opportunity to address and highlight five important facts – which decision-makers and the broader public should get right:

1)     Too few people know the correlation and too many believe alcohol is healthy
A European Union study showed that on average only 36% of the people know about alcohol’s role in cancer. Too many people around the world still believe in the health benefits of alcohol but evidence shows that there is no safe amount of alcohol use. No matter if beer, whine or liquor is used – it’s the alcohol that increases the risk for cancer. Researchers also point out that recommended units for alcohol use are way off the mark. Only one glass of alcohol per year would be risk free consumption.
”The more alcohol consumed, the bigger gets the risk for cancer. And really, who would for example use a pill against insomnia or high blood pressure, if they knew it caused cancer at the same time?” says Mr. Sven-Olov Carlsson, President of IOGT International.
 
2)     Thousands of cancer cases are correlated with alcohol use
The European AMPHORA project, a research project financed by the European Commission, calculates that 136 000 new cases of cancer in EU, yearly, are caused by alcohol use. Even a conservative projection of these findings for other regions in the world makes it clear: Hundreds of thousands of cancer cases around the world are alcohol related.
"Cancer will touch us all at some point in our lives. On World Cancer Day, UICC urges everyone to make simple lifestyle changes to reduce their cancer risk and that of their loved ones, ” says Mr. Cary Adams, Chief Executive Officer of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC).
 
3)     Alcohol is the second biggest risk factor
The IARC estimates (a study in France) that alcohol lies behind 8% of all cases of cancer: 11% in men and 5% in women. After tobacco (18%), alcohol is therefore the second biggest cause of cancer, long before other risk factors infections (3%), physical inactivity, or sunlight.
”Just like the activities of the tobacco industry, so do the activities of the global alcohol industry have huge negative consequences for the people in the world. And due to this obvious conflict of interest the alcohol industry should not be part of public health policy processes,” explains Mr. Carlsson.

4)     Policy measures that control and prevent cancer
The global costs of cancer in 2010 were $290 Billion and it is projected that the costs would increase to $458 Billion by 2030, with the current development. Cancer imposes a tremendous burden on low- and middle-income countries: 99% of the cancer patients in those countries die without pain treatment.
Cancer, as one major disease of the Non-communicable disease epidemic (killing 36 million people annually, cancer killing ca. 8 million), can largely be prevented – especially those cancer diseases caused by alcohol use. WHO, World Bank and other acclaimed international bodies promote measures that are cost-effective and high-impact: ban alcohol marketing, increase the price of alcohol, for example through higher taxes, decrease the availability of alcohol, for example through limiting outlet density and reducing opening hours.
”A lot of suffering can be prevented by simple, high-impact and cost effective policy measures, and so we urge decision-makers to make use of them for the benefit of children and families, societal development and economic prosperity,” says Mr. Sven-Olov Carlsson, President of IOGT International.


 


Cary's Key Quote

On the severity of cancer and the importance of healthy lifestyle choices:

"Cancer will touch us all at some point in our lives. On World Cancer Day, UICC urges everyone to make simple lifestyle changes to reduce their cancer risk and that of their loved ones.”





 

Union for International Cancer Control is a membership organisation that exists to help the global health community accelerate the fight against cancer.
Founded in 1933 and based in Geneva, UICC's growing membership of over 760 organisations across 155 countries features the world's major cancer societies, ministries of health, research institutes and patient groups.


Sven-Olov's Key Quote

On the impact of policy measures to control and prevent cancer:

”A lot of suffering can be prevented by simple, high-impact and cost-effective policy measures, and so we urge decision-makers to make use of them for the benefit of children and families, societal development and economic prosperity.”


Evidence

UICC, World Cancer Day
British Medical Journal 
IARC Monographs
World Bank: Policy Measures
WHO: Facts
WEF: Global Burden of NCDs

Press Release
World Cancer Day 2013
IOGT International |2013|

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