Think Twice: alcohol and cancer campaign launched

The Think Twice campaign, launched today (Monday, November 17) by Balance, the North East Alcohol Office, and Breakthrough Breast Cancer, aims to increase awareness of the link between alcohol and breast cancer, encourage women to take stock of their alcohol intake and if necessary - cut back.

Regularly drinking alcohol - even just one drink a day - increases a woman's risk of developing the disease, which is the most common cancer in the UK. However, two thirds of women in the North East don't realise that the more they drink the greater their risk of breast cancer.

To coincide with the start of Alcohol Awareness Week, the campaign will launch on the region's airwaves with a radio advert featuring the North East TV star Charlie Hardwick.

One in eight women develop breast cancer in their lifetime but the individual level of risk varies from person to person depending on a number of factors such as genes, lifestyle and environment. Drinking alcohol is one of the few contributing factors that can be changed to help reduce a woman's risk of developing the disease.

Studies have shown that:

  • In a group of 100 women who do not drink, around 11 are likely develop breast cancer during their life.
  • In a group of 100 women who drink two units a day - which is the equivalent of a standard glass of wine - about 14 will develop breast cancer.
  • In a group of 100 women who drink four units a day - the equivalent of a large glass of wine and a single measure of spirits - about 16 will develop breast cancer.

Colin Shevills, Director of Balance, said: "Breast cancer is a devastating disease that affects thousands of women across our region. Alcohol is linked to thousands of breast cancer cases each year across the UK so anything that can be done to raise awareness of this issue is vitally important. This is why we have launched our Think Twice campaign.

"Here in the North East, around two in three women are unaware that the more they drink the greater their risk of breast cancer. That's a significant proportion and we need to raise awareness. Although there are many uncontrollable factors that increase a woman's risk of developing the disease, such as genetics and age, there are a few things women can do to reduce their risk. Limiting the amount of alcohol they drink is amongst the most significant of these."

The Think Twice radio advert will be backed up by an online film - also voiced by Charlie - which highlights the alcohol and breast cancer link. This will be available to view on the Balance campaign website from today (Monday, November 17).

Colin added: "Alcohol is a Group 1 carcinogen, like tobacco, and measures need to be put in place to ensure people have access to all the necessary information which supports good, healthy choices.

"The Government has a key role to play here by ensuring transparency. The introduction of health warnings on all alcoholic drinks would help tackle the problem. However, information alone is not enough. To turn back the tide of alcohol misuse we require a multi-faceted approach which includes the introduction of a minimum price per unit of alcohol and the curbing of alcohol marketing."

Department of Health guidelines recommend no more than 2-3 units a day for women and a maximum of 3-4 units a day for men, with at least 2 alcohol free days per week. There are 2 units in a standard 175ml glass of wine and 3 units in a pint of strong lager, beer or cider.

To see the campaign videos and to find out more information about alcohol and cancer, visit reducemyrisk.tv

Find Balance on Facebook and on Twitter @BalanceNE. Tweet using #ThinkTwiceUK

Last modified: Mon, 29 Mar 2021 16:49:54 BST