CASES of cancer related to alcohol are on the rise in the region with an estimated 3,120 incidences recorded from 2015-17, it has been revealed.

The latest “shocking” figures are highlighted as Balance, the North East Alcohol Office, launches the #7Cancers campaign in the region to encourage people to stick to the “low risk” limits to reduce their risk of cancer.

The Chief Medical Officer’s advice is for both men and women to drink no more than 14 units a week to stay “low risk”.

However, research by Balance suggests over a quarter of North-East adults (around 550,000 people) drink above that limit and nine out of ten of these think they’re “moderate” or “low risk” drinkers.

Balance will be out and about across the region in November in hospitals, supermarkets and shopping centres to help people understand alcohol units.

The campaign website also includes a quiz where people can find out how their weekly units can mount up and find free tips and tools to cut down.

Alcohol causes at least seven types of cancer and around 11,900 cases of cancer in the UK every year, including up to 3,600 mouth and throat cancers, around 4,400 breast cancers and around 2,500 bowel cancers.

The North-East has the second-worst rate in the country with alcohol-related cancer rates having risen by 5.8 per cent since 2004-06, although the increase is lower than the 7.2 per cent rise for the rest of England.

Balance director Colin Shevill said: “These figures are shocking in themselves but it is truly worrying that hundreds of thousands of people are drinking above the low risk limits without realising they are putting themselves at increased risk of cancer and other medical conditions such as heart disease and stroke.

“Many of us still underestimate how much we drink. We know it can be tricky to work out how many units are consumed over the course of a week. Surprisingly, it is not younger adults but people aged over 45 who are most likely to be regularly drinking above 14 units a week.

“We’re running this campaign as people have a right to know about the links between alcohol and cancer but you will not see this on the bottle or can. While we need to keep raising awareness, alcohol is still too affordable, too available and too heavily promoted and we need a comprehensive, evidence-based alcohol strategy to make a real difference.”

The campaign, which launches on Nov 4, is supported by Cancer Research UK and will be running during Alcohol Awareness Week from November 11 to 17.

Dr Tony Branson, consultant clinical oncologist and clinical lead for the Northern Cancer Alliance, said: “We might just see it as a harmless drink, but just like tobacco, alcohol is a cause of cancers of the bowel, mouth, throat and oesophagus.

“It is very easy for the units to mount up. There is no safe limit and the health risks outweigh any benefits. However reducing how much you drink and taking more drink free days can help to reduce the risk.”

Of the cases recorded from 2015-17: 210 were in South Tyneside, 285 in Newcastle, 250 in North Tyneside, 325 in Sunderland, 430 in Northumberland, 230 in Gateshead and 615 in County Durham.

What is the guidance?

•The Chief Medical Officer’s guideline is that men and women are safest not to drink regularly more than 14 units per week.

• The guideline states that a good way to cut down on alcohol consumption is to have several drink-free days each week.

• 14 units of alcohol is equivalent to six pints of average-strength beer or six medium glasses of wine. However - just one pint of strong lager or a large glass of wine can contain more than three units of alcohol.

People can find Balance on Facebook at and on Twitter @BalanceNE. Tweet using #7cancers