Yesterday I went to the House of Lords to attend the launch of the Alcohol Concern report Making alcohol a health priority.
I was pleased to hear them both draw attention to the strength of scientific evidence that alcohol increases cancer risk and also that the Alcohol Concern report mentioned the impact alcohol has on cancer.
There is now strong evidence that alcohol increases risk of cancers of the bowel, breast, liver, oesophagus, and mouth pharynx and larynx. We estimate about 20,000 cancer cases diagnosed each year are linked to alcohol.
This is why we recommend that, if people drink alcohol at all, they should limit consumption to two drinks a day for a man and one for a woman.
While the evidence on alcohol and cancer is now very strong, many people in the UK are simply not aware of this.
But the good news is that things are heading in the right direction.
When we first started working with YouGov in 2007 to measure awareness of cancer risk factors, just 35% of British people were aware that drinking alcohol increases cancer risk. The latest figures suggest awareness has now increased to 57%.
But while awareness is improving, there are still many people who do not know that drinking alcohol increases cancer risk. By comparison, awareness that smoking increases cancer risk tends to hover at around 90%.
We want everyone to be aware of how they can reduce their cancer risk, so they are in a position to make their own informed choice.
So there is still a long way to go before that is the case.
That it why we are pleased to see organisations such as Alcohol Concern focusing on the effect of alcohol on cancer risk, and highlighting this as one of the reasons it needs to be treated as a health priority.