North Tyneside CCG News

Balance campaign raises awareness of links between alcohol and cancer

Tue 22nd November 2016

A campaign highlighting the links between alcohol and at least seven types of cancer has launched as findings show more people in the North East are now aware of the link between the two.

Balance, the North East Alcohol Office, is launching the second burst of its alcohol and cancer campaign after its evaluation showed people who had seen last years’ campaign were twice as likely to be aware of the connection between alcohol and breast cancer as those who hadn’t.

A Balance survey conducted before the campaign showed only one in three people in the North East were aware of the link between alcohol and breast cancer. This figure rose to 45% of people and more than half (52%) of women being aware of the link after the campaign.

The campaign follows on from the Chief Medical Officers’ first review of the alcohol drinking guidelines in 20 years earlier this year. The revised guidelines state that there are no ‘safe’ levels of drinking and even relatively low levels of alcohol consumption can increase the risk of a range of medical conditions, including at least seven different types of cancer.

Featuring the thought-provoking ‘Spot of Lunch’ TV advert and a newly refreshed website, the four-week campaign aims to further increase awareness, helping people in the North East keep their risks low by encouraging them to drink within the new recommended guidelines of 14 units of alcohol per week for both men and women.

The campaign film shows a woman enjoying lunch and a glass of wine with her partner when she spills some of the drink on her top. The stain changes to show a growing tumour on her breast. The film can be viewed here –

Sue Taylor, Partnerships Manager for Balance, the North East Alcohol Office, said: “It’s positive to see increasing awareness of the links between alcohol and cancer, following on from last years’ campaign. It reinforces how important mass-media campaigns like ‘Spot of Lunch’ are in making people in the North East aware of the risks of drinking alcohol, even at low levels.

“Many of us underestimate how much we drink and we know it can be tricky to work out how many units we’ve had over the course of a week. That’s why, as part of our campaign, we’ve refreshed our website to include lots of information and advice that encourages people to think about their alcohol intake and hopefully cut back to reduce their risk.

“While awareness in the North East may be growing, much remains to be done to raise awareness levels further. It’s only by making people more aware that they can make informed choices about how much they drink.”

Dr John Green, GP at Prudhoe Medical Group, has also lent his support to the campaign. He said: “Alcohol is poisonous, it’s in the same cancer-causing group as tobacco smoke and asbestos, and is linked to more than 60 medical conditions, as well as accidents and injuries. I see patients every day affected by cancer and although there are many different reasons why people get cancer, alcohol consumption is one of the things we have control over and can do something about.

“Balance’s campaign is all about raising awareness of the risks to help people make an informed choice about how much they’re drinking. There are many steps people can take to cut back and one of the things we hope this campaign will do is raise awareness and get people thinking about drinking a little less.”