FEWER than 38 per cent of North East women are aware of the link between alcohol and breast cancer – despite evidence that any level of regular drinking increases the risks.

The findings are the result of a survey by Balance as it runs a campaign across the region urging women to reduce their drinking and reduce the risks.

It also found that nearly one in five North East women, 19 per cent, are drinking above the recommended limit of drinking no more than 14 units per week to stay 'low risk' from a range of health conditions, including cancer.

Balance, the North East Alcohol Office, has relaunched its Spot of Lunch campaign across TV, online and Facebook in a bid to inform women across the region to help them make more informed choices.

Latest figures show one in seven UK women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, but that nearly a quarter of cases are preventable. Any level of regular drinking increases the risks – it is estimated drinking two units a day causes one extra woman out of every 50 to develop breast cancer.

Colin Shevills, director of Balance, said: “Like tobacco, alcohol causes cancer and with breast cancer, evidence is clear there is no ‘safe’ level of drinking. Even relatively low levels of regular alcohol consumption can increase the risk."

GP Dr Sarah Louden is Cancer GP lead for Newcastle Gateshead CCG, and said: “Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK. There are some risk factors you can’t change, like ageing and family history, but there are some things you can change and limiting how much alcohol you drink is one important way you can reduce the risk of breast cancer.

Watch her video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BjdMdBglplo.

Find Balance on Facebook at www.facebook.com/balance.northeast.