Reduce your drinking, reduce your risk of breast cancer

Monday, 15 February 2010 – Health and Social Wellbeing Improvement

An alcohol awareness raising campaign developed by the Public Health Agency targeting women drinkers aged 30-59, begins today. The campaign, ‘Reduce your drinking, reduce your risk of breast cancer,’ focuses on the risk between drinking alcohol and breast cancer.

Breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer among women in Northern Ireland and one of the leading causes of death amongst women. International research shows that drinking more that your recommended daily limit increases your risk of breast cancer.1

Welcoming the campaign, Health Minister Michael McGimpsey said: “Alcohol remains a major public health issue in Northern Ireland and I am committed to reducing the overall level of alcohol-related harm in Northern Ireland.

“The harsh reality is that, although alcohol misuse is known to be harmful to health and well-being, many people in Northern Ireland still drink to excess. It has been estimated that alcohol misuse costs our society almost £800 million every year. It is damaging to individuals, families and communities right across Northern Ireland.”

The Minister said that the campaign is a key element of his Department’s work. He said: “Through the New Strategic Direction for Alcohol and Drugs, my Department aims to address alcohol misuse and change our drinking culture. Given the rate of alcohol misuse and binge drinking among women, the focus of this campaign is both appropriate and timely. By highlighting the links to breast cancer, the campaign will have a particular resonance, highlighting the damage that alcohol can do. I hope the campaign will encourage women to think about how much alcohol they are drinking and the serious impact this can have.”

Dr Carolyn Harper, Director of Public Health at the Public Health Agency, said: “We know from research here that women in Northern Ireland don’t link drinking with breast cancer.2 But if you drink more than the recommended daily guidelines, you put your health at risk. This campaign carries the positive message that by reducing your drinking, you can reduce your risk of breast cancer.”

The recommended daily guidelines for a woman are no more than 2–3 units of alcohol, which is roughly:
• one small pub bottle of wine (187.5 ml), or
• two pub measures of spirits, or
• one pint of lager, or
• two alcopops.
 

Further information

Further information about how alcohol can affect your health is available from the Public Health Agency website: www.knowyourlimits.info

For media queries contact:
The Public Health Agency Ormeau Avenue Unit Press Office on Tel: 028 9031 1611/ 9031 1514.

Notes to Editors:
‘Reduce your drinking, reduce your risk of breast cancer’ will run for six weeks from Monday 15 February 2010 and includes television, radio, online and press advertising and a leaflet which will be distributed widely.

The Public Health Agency campaign aims to increase awareness about the specific health risks for women, increase knowledge of the sensible drinking limits and change the drinking behaviour of women in Northern Ireland.

Notes to the editor

Notes to Editors:

‘Reduce your drinking, reduce your risk of breast cancer’ will run for six weeks from Monday 15 February 2010 and includes television, radio, online and press advertising and a leaflet which will be distributed widely.

The Public Health Agency campaign aims to increase awareness about the specific health risks for women, increase knowledge of the sensible drinking limits and change the drinking behaviour of women in Northern Ireland.