Wednesday, 17 April, 2024
HomeHarm ReductionFew women know of booze and breast cancer link – WHO

Few women know of booze and breast cancer link – WHO

Only one in five women in Europe – just 21% – know that alcohol is a risk factor for developing breast cancer, the World Health Organisation says, calling for more stringent drinking policies and product warnings.

The European branch of the WHO said that awareness was even lower among men, with just 10% of those surveyed knowing about the risk, reports MedicalXpress.

The WHO did not provide its own data on how many cases were alcohol-related, but cited 2020 data from the International Agency for Research on Cancer, which showed that of 575 917 new breast cancer cases, 39 248 were alcohol-attributable: about 7%.

“The role of alcohol as a preventable risk factor for breast cancer is critical,” the agency said.

For women in Europe, breast cancer is the primary cancer caused by alcohol, making up 66% of all cases of alcohol-attributable cancers.

Alcohol affects levels of oestrogen, which plays a significant role in the development and progression of many breast cancers.

Even relatively low levels of alcohol can contribute to the risk of developing breast cancer, the agency warned.

“More than half of all breast cancer cases attributable to alcohol in Europe are not due to heavy drinking. About one-third of new cases every year are due to drinking the equivalent of up to two small glasses of wine daily,” it said, calling for new national policies to change drinking habits in the region and noting that per capita consumption had barely changed since 2010.

To prevent cancer risk factors, it has urged countries to place clear warnings on alcohol products as they already do for tobacco products, said Europe director Hans Kluge.

“Europe has the highest levels of alcohol consumption in the world – with one in 10 alcohol-related deaths – and reducing or limiting consumption is an excellent starting point,” he added.


MedicalXpress article – Few women know alcohol linked to breast cancer: WHO Europe (Open access)


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Steep climb in under-50 cancer cases, global study finds


No alcohol is good for your health – Canadian analysis


400 UK cancer cases daily from junk food, alcohol and sunbathing


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