BOOZE AND BREAST CANCER

 

Know Your Vital Statistics

Screen legend Joan Collins, One Direction drummer Josh Devine and the late Amy Winehouse’s dad, Mitch, are helping raise awareness of the link between booze and breast cancer.

Studies have shown that drinking one glass of wine a day raises breast cancer risk by around 13% but 86% of people are unaware that alcohol contributes to breast cancer.

The number of women under 50 diagnosed with breast cancer topped 10,000 last year for the first time.

The Pink Ribbon Foundation (Reg. Charity No. 1080839) and The Alcohol-Free Shop, the UK’s leading alcohol-free specialists, (www.alcoholfree.co.uk) are working in partnership to inform women of the risks through the Know Your Vital Statistics campaign.

The initiative was launched on twitter sparking more than 4 million retweets in the first day after attracting the attention of TV, film, music and sports personalities.

Joan Collins, a patron of the Pink Ribbon Foundation, Josh Devine and Mitch Winehouse have been joined by tennis veteran Martina Navratilova, weather women Sian Lloyd, Loose Women’s Coleen Nolan, socialite Tara Palmer Tompkinson, Dianne Abbot MP, Eric Idle of the Monty Python team and dozens of others, in spreading the word to all their followers.

It is hoped the Know Your Vital Statistics initiative will encourage women to heed the warnings and avoid alcohol at least some of the time as well as raise funds for breast cancer care, support and research.

A specially branded de-alcoholised wine is being promoted by The Alcohol-Free Shop and for every bottle sold in the next 12 months, £1 will be donated to the Pink Ribbon Foundation.

People who purchase Pearl Rose or Pearl Blanc sparkling wines will also receive a voucher to give to a friend to claim a free bottle of sparkling Pearl wine to help further spread the word.

Christine Risby, co-director at The Alcohol-Free Shop, said: “The World Health Organisation has recognised the link between alcohol and cancer since 1988 yet the dangers are not widely known.

“The risk of breast cancer from one standard glass of wine a day is increased by 13%. Drink three standard glasses a day and the risk is 39%.

“The fact that the number of women under 50 being diagnosed with breast cancer has reached an all time high, when so many of us are drinking more alcohol, more often than our mothers did, can’t be ignored.

“We think these are vital statistics that every woman should know. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK and a lot of us drink more than 14 units a week, even if it is only a glass of wine with dinner, so a large number of women are affected.

“Annually around 3,000 cases of breast cancer in Britain are linked to alcohol. When 47,000 women are being diagnosed with breast cancer a year, 3,000 may not seem that significant, but if you’re one of them, it’s very significant to you. If you can avoid it, why wouldn’t you?”

Researchers for the alcohol education group Alcohol Concern found that most people did not know that drinking alcohol contributed to developing breast cancer.

The risks have been confirmed by The Million Women Study being conducted by Oxford University to investigate links between lifestyle and health.

The study began in 1996 when women over the age of 50 where invited to join in the study as part of the NHS breast screening programme.

One in four women in the over 50s age group is now involved in what has become the world’s biggest study of its kind.

The Know Your Vital Statistics campaign is being supported by TV doctor and practicing GP Sarah Jarvis.

Sarah said: “Studies have confirmed that alcohol consumption increases the risk of breast cancer, but there are many other factors that contribute to cancer developing. Staying within maximum weekly guidelines and avoiding daily alcohol consumption is a sensible step for overall health.”

Pink Ribbon Foundation trustee Jonathan Prince said, “Breast cancer is a complex disease that’s not yet fully understood. There are a number of factors including genetics, lifestyle and overall heath that influence risk. Alcohol has been found to be a risk. We can’t control some risk factors, but we can limit the amount of alcohol we drink.”

 

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