Drinking habits of Queenslanders causing hundreds of cancer cases

Hundreds of Queenslanders are being diagnosed with cancer every year because they’re drinking too much alcohol.

It’s estimated that around 760 cancer cases and 210 cancer deaths could be attributable to alcohol consumption annually across the State – prompting Cancer Council Queensland to call for greater awareness of alcohol-related health risks.

Cancer Council Queensland CEO Chris McMillan said many people were not fully aware of the serious risks associated with the overconsumption of alcohol.

“The recent Annual alcohol poll 2018 revealed that people continue to have a very low awareness of the long-term health conditions associated with alcohol,” Ms McMillan said.

“Of those surveyed, only 26 per cent of people were aware of the link between alcohol misuse and mouth and throat cancer and only 16 per cent were aware of the link to breast cancer.

“While around 69 per cent could link alcohol misuse with liver cancer, it’s vital that more people become aware of all types of cancer, and chronic diseases, that can result from excessive drinking.

“In Queensland, approximately 200 female breast cancers, 170 colon cancers, 40 liver cancers and 185 oral cavity and pharynx cancers could be attributable to alcohol consumption annually .

“Any amount of alcohol consumption increases the risk of developing an alcohol-related cancer – and the risk increases in line with the amount of consumption.

“We recommend that to reduce their risk of cancer, people limit their consumption of alcohol.”

Research shows that around 1.1million adults exceed the guidelines for single occasion risky drinking at least once a month in Queensland alone .

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) recommends men and women consume no more than two standard drinks on any day to reduce the lifetime risk of alcohol-related disease.

Ms McMillan said the figures highlighted the need for greater awareness about the dangers of alcohol consumption.

“Awareness and education is key to changing attitudes and behaviours related to excessive alcohol consumption, and in turn reduce short and long-term health effects,” Ms McMillan said.

“All Queenslanders can reduce their risk of cancer and chronic disease simply by making healthy lifestyle choices.

“At least one third of all cancers are preventable through changes including limiting alcohol, quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, being SunSmart and keeping active.

“For individuals who choose to drink alcohol, we recommend that they drink only within the NHMRC guidelines for alcohol consumption of no more than two standard drinks on any one day.”

More information about Cancer Council Queensland and breast cancer is available at cancerqld.org.au or 13 11 20.

For more information or interviews, please contact:

Laura McKoy,
Media Manager,
Cancer Council Queensland
Phone: (07) 3634 5345
Mobile: 0409 001 171