Alcohol consumption putting vast majority of Europeans at risk of digestive cancers

July 4, 2017
Total alcohol per capita (litres), total alcohol per capita (grams) and average number of drinks per day. Credit: UEG

Citizens across the EU are consuming an average of 2 alcoholic drinks per day, placing drinkers at a 21% increased risk of developing colorectal cancer, in addition to other digestive cancers, a report finds.

The report, launched today by United European Gastroenterology, revealed that the average daily intake of was 'moderate' (between 1 and 4 drinks per day) in all 28 EU states, placing these citizens at a heightened risk of both colorectal and .

'Heavy' drinkers (people that consume more than 4 drinks per day) were found to be at an increased risk of pancreatic, liver and gastric cancer. These three cancers, coupled with colorectal and oesophageal cancer, are the five most common worldwide, causing almost three million deaths per year and contributing to over a third of global cancer deaths.

No countries within the EU were found to have 'light' (on average, less than 1 alcoholic drink per day per capita).

The European Alcohol Endemic

Alcohol consumption across the European region is higher than in any other region in the world, with over one fifth of the European population over the age of 15 drinking heavily at least once a week. As a result, the continent suffers from the highest proportion of ill health and premature death directly linked to alcohol.

The video will load shortly.
United European Gastroenterology highlight the scale of alcohol consumption across Europe and its direct and indirect impact on digestive cancers, including oesophageal, liver, pancreatic, colorectal and gastric cancer. The video also outlines actions that can be changed to change our approach to alcohol consumption, such as minimum pricing, improved labelling and a ban on TV advertising and sports sponsorship. Credit: UEG

Despite high levels of consumption throughout Europe, research shows that as many as 90% of people are unaware on the link between alcohol and cancer.

In light of these alarming statistics, tackling the harmful use of alcohol is a main priority for the upcoming Estonian presidency of the Council of the European Union.

How to Tackle Europe's Alcohol Crisis

Consumers are provided with mixed-messages on recommended units, glasses and volumes of alcohol. UEG are therefore calling for a pan-European approach to the provision of clear and consistent information about the health risks of drinking alcohol to help eradicate confusion on appropriate levels of consumption.

Professor Markus Peck, leading digestive health expert, comments; "One of the main challenges in addressing high drinking levels is how deeply embedded alcohol consumption is within the European society, both socially and culturally. Political action like minimum pricing and reducing access to alcohol needs to be taken now to prevent many future casualties. Research then has to follow to help generate data and allow us to fine-tune future political activity".

Increased pressure on the to develop clear and responsible labelling, together with a tightening of regulations on the marketing of alcohol, are other important steps outlined within the report to help tackle the crisis. France is a country leading the way in this regard, where stricter marketing, coupled with regulations for drinking at work, has contributed to a decline in and digestive incidence as a result.

Explore further: Reducing the risk of CRC by tackling alcohol misuse: A call for action across Europe

More information: United European Gastroenterology, Alcohol and Digestive Cancers. Available at: spink.sharefile.com/d-s9b8ba75e47644849

Related Stories

Reducing the risk of CRC by tackling alcohol misuse: A call for action across Europe

November 24, 2015
Information presented last month at UEG Week Barcelona 2015 highlighted an increasing public health concern across Europe regarding alcohol and GI diseases1. In particular, healthcare professionals across Europe are being ...

Alcohol may fuel prostate cancer risk

November 16, 2016
(HealthDay)—Drinking may raise the risk of prostate cancer, and the more men drink the greater their risk, a new analysis of 27 studies suggests.

Alcohol consumption contributes to cancer, even in moderate drinkers

June 27, 2016
Drinking alcohol increases the risk of several types of cancer, and was responsible for 236 cancer deaths under 80 years of age in New Zealand in 2012, according to a new study at the University of Otago.

135,000 alcohol-related cancer deaths predicted by 2035

November 17, 2016
Alcohol will cause around 135,000 cancer deaths over the next 20 years and will cost the NHS an estimated £2 billion in treatments, according to estimates from a new report by Sheffield University, commissioned by Cancer ...

Study confirms link between alcohol consumption, breast cancer risk in black women

May 1, 2017
Alcohol consumption is known to be a risk factor for breast cancer based on studies predominately done in white women. Now a University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center study has found the same risk ...

Alcohol's cancer toll revealed

November 2, 2016
Alcohol consumption caused more than 700,000 new cancer cases and around 366,000 cancer deaths in 2012, mainly in rich countries, according to data reported Wednesday to the World Cancer Congress in Paris.

Recommended for you

Breathing dirty air may harm kidneys, study finds

September 21, 2017
Outdoor air pollution has long been linked to major health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. A new study now adds kidney disease to the list, according to ...

Excess dietary manganese promotes staph heart infection

September 21, 2017
Too much dietary manganese—an essential trace mineral found in leafy green vegetables, fruits and nuts—promotes infection of the heart by the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus ("staph").

Being active saves lives whether a gym workout, walking to work or washing the floor

September 21, 2017
Physical activity of any kind can prevent heart disease and death, says a large international study involving more than 130,000 people from 17 countries published this week in The Lancet.

Frequent blood donations safe for some, but not all

September 21, 2017
(HealthDay)—Some people may safely donate blood as often as every eight weeks—but that may not be a healthy choice for all, a new study suggests.

Higher manganese levels in children correlate with lower IQ scores, study finds

September 21, 2017
A study led by environmental health researchers at the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine finds that children in East Liverpool, Ohio with higher levels of Manganese (Mn) had lower IQ scores. The research appears ...

One e-cigarette with nicotine leads to adrenaline changes in nonsmokers' hearts

September 20, 2017
A new UCLA study found that healthy nonsmokers experienced increased adrenaline levels in their heart after one electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) with nicotine but there were no increased adrenaline levels when the study ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.