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Surge in cancers linked to drinking alcohol triggers warning to cut back
NEW figures reveal a sharp rise in the number of North-East hospital admissions for alcohol-related cancer in the last nine years.
The surge in cancers linked to drinking triggered warnings from experts about the long-term risks of drinking too much, too often.
Analysis carried out by by Balance, the North-East Alcohol Office, shows that the number of male hospital admissions for alcohol-related cancer of the lip, oral cavity and pharynx has more than doubled (102 per cent) over the last nine years.
Within the same period there was also an 88 per cent increase in the number of female hospital admissions for alcohol-related breast cancer. The highest percentage increases for breast cancer were seen amongst the under 45s.
Hospital admissions for all alcohol-related cancer increased by 28 per cent in the region.
Figures also showed that deaths from alcohol-related cancers account for around one in five of all alcohol-related deaths in the North East.
Dr John Greenaway, consultant gastroenterologist at The James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough, said most people are now aware of the direct consequences of chronic alcohol misuse, which can result in liver failure and death. He said the new figures showed the "hidden consequence" of harmful drinking behaviour.
The findings follow a campaign by Balance which highlights the link between alcohol and seven types of cancer - mouth cancer, pharyngeal cancer (upper throat), oesophageal cancer (food pipe), laryngeal cancer (voice box), breast cancer, bowel cancer and liver cancer.
Colin Shevills, director of Balance, said: "These figures are extremely worrying. Alcohol is a poison, it's in the same cancer causing group as tobacco smoke and asbestos - we really need to continue to drive this message home.
"It's important that people are aware of the serious long term health risks associated with drinking alcohol, as well as the short term health implications. Alcohol is linked to more than 60 different medical conditions, including cancer, liver disease, osteoporosis, stomach ulcers, raised blood pressure, stroke and dementia.
"Our advice is to stay within the Government's recommended limits and to try and have at least two alcohol-free days each week."
Department of Health guidelines recommend no more than two-three units a day for women and a maximum of three-four units a day for men, with at least two alcohol free days per week. You can get further information by using the online drinks checker at reducemyrisk
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