Calls for support for health labelling of alcohol, amid breast cancer link

The Irish Cancer Society says 12% of breast cancers are caused by alcohol

Calls for support for health labelling of alcohol, amid breast cancer link

An alcohol units per day warning label on a bottle of wine | Image: Picture by Rui Vieira PA Archive/PA Images

The Irish Cancer Society (ICS) is warning of the links between alcohol and breast cancer.

It claims over one-in-ten breast cancer cases and deaths are caused by alcohol.

It is calling for the enactment and strengthening of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill 2015.

Donal Buggy, head of services and advocacy at the ICS, says: "There is widespread scientific evidence of the link between alcohol and breast cancer, but little public awareness of it.

"In 2013, in Ireland 12% of breast cancers were caused by alcohol - that's 353 cases a year.

"In the same year 69 women died from a breast cancer caused by alcohol.

"If we are to seriously tackle the rising cancer numbers we need to tackle Ireland’s high alcohol consumption rate in tandem."

The Public Health Alcohol Bill contains health labelling of alcohol products, minimum unit pricing for retailing of alcohol and regulation of its marketing and advertising.

Mr Buggy says as a member of the Alcohol Health Alliance (AHA), he welcomes the legislation - "but we are asking the Bill to go further in its labelling provisions and for a specific warning on alcohol products that highlight the link between alcohol and fatal cancers."

He says amendments will be tabled on this today.

The group says 900 new cancers and 500 cancer deaths are attributable to alcohol every year.

It is urging politicians to support the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill 2015, which is back before the Seanad Wednesday.

"It is now crucially important to progress it this Dáil term", Mr Buggy adds.

The ICS says for every one standard drink a day, there is a 7% increase in breast cancer. If you drink 3-6 standards drinks a day you increase the risk by 41%.

While a study released on Tuesday found that the gap between men and women in terms of drinking alcohol - and its associated dangers - is narrowing.