Healthcare: On the Agenda - Heavy drinking link to cancer

In a nutshell

Alcohol is responsible for about 13,000 cases of cancer a year in Britain, according to a new study. Europe-wide research published in the British Medical Journal looked at 363,988 people and found one in ten of all cancers in men and one in 33 in women were caused by alcohol intake. The study found that in most cases the cancers were caused by people drinking more than the recommended daily limits, although even drinking small amounts added to the risk of some cancers developing.

The study

The study focused on France, Italy, Spain, the UK, Greece, the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark. It found that 40 to 98 per cent of alcohol-attributable cancers occurred in individuals who drank more than the recommended guidelines of two standard drinks a day for men and one a day for women.

What is a standard drink?

A standard drink contains about 12g of alcohol and is equivalent to a 125ml glass of wine or a half-pint of beer.

PR strategy

The BMJ handled the media outreach for the story in-house and sent a press release to national and international media.

Media coverage

The story was widely covered in international media on 8 April. In the UK, the story was featured on BBC Breakfast and was also covered in The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, the Daily Express and Daily Mail. 13k: Cancer cases each year in the UK attributed to alcohol

17.4k: Cases of upper digestive tract, liver, colorectum and breast cancer in women across the eight countries attributed to alcohol

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