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Alcohol and cancer awareness among political youth organisations

It is a well-known fact that the awareness about alcohol´s role in causing different forms of cancer is generally low.

It has been established that drinking alcohol can cause at least 7 types of cancer, those of the:

  • bowel (colon and rectum)
  • breast
  • gullet (oesophagus)
  • larynx
  • liver
  • mouth
  • upper throat.

A study in the United Kingdom, published by the British Medical Journal in 2016, revealed that, unprompted, only 13% of respondents identified cancer as a potential health outcome of alcohol consumption. Knowledge of the link between alcohol and specific cancers ranged from 18% for breast cancer to 80% for liver cancer, demonstrating a lack of knowledge in the general population. And yet, cancer accounts for 12% of all alcohol-attributable deaths in the Region.

Over the last months, NordAN has been working with a project on political youth organisations in Nordic countries. We have asked them to fill a questionnaire which aims to establish their views on alcohol policy and alcohol´s role in the society. One question asked them the following: “On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 means disagree very much and 10 agree very much, we would like to know your organisation´s opinion regarding how much alcohol consumption contributes to harm in the society”. On alcohol and cancer, we received responses from 14 organisations. The summary is presented in the graph below.