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Alcohol to Bring 135,000 Cancer Deaths in the UK by 2035, New Study Warns

Nov 18, 2016 04:00 AM EST
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UK chief medical officer drinking alcohol heightens your risk of developing different types of cancer.
(Photo : Justin Sullivan / Staff)

England will likely see 135,000 cancer-related deaths due to alcohol in the next two decades, according to a recently published study by Sheffield University.

The study commissioned by the Cancer Research UK also predicts over 1.2 million hospital admissions for alcohol-related cancer - including esophageal cancer, bowel cancer, mouth and throat cancers, breast cancer, and liver cancer - by 2035, adding that this looming public health crisis will cause the National Health Services (NHS) a whopping £2bn.

In an article by Eureka Alert, Alison Cox, the Director of Prevention at Cancer Research UK, said, "These new figures reveal the devastating impact alcohol will have over the coming years. That's why it's hugely important the public are aware of the link between alcohol and cancer, and what they can do to improve their risk. If we are to change the nation's drinking habits and try to mitigate the impact alcohol will have then national health campaigns are needed to provide clear information about the health risks of drinking alcohol."

England's chief medical officer, Dame Sally Davies, has released an official advisory earlier this year, recommending 14 units of maximum alcohol consumption weekly for men, the current alcohol consumption limit for women. Davies also made it clear that there's no such thing as a safe level for drinking, and that both sex are at heightened risk of developing different types of cancer.

However, Cancer Research UK and Alcohol Health Alliance, calls for more stringent measures from the government, such as introducing a 50p minimum unit price for alcohol in England, which as the study suggests, could decrease alcohol-related deaths in the country by about 7,200, including about 670 cancer deaths, and lower healthcare costs by £1.3bn in 20 years.

Prof Sir Ian Gilmore, chair of the Alcohol Health Alliance, said, "It is clear from the report that MUP will save lives, including those lost to cancer, and ease the burden on our health service. Importantly, MUP will do this while leaving moderate drinkers and prices in pubs and bars unaffected," The Guardian reports.

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