Alcohol causes thousands of cases of cancer every year, but cutting back can reduce the risk.
You might be surprised to learn that alcohol-related cancer caused more hospital admissions than alcohol-related violence and road accidents combined (figures for England, 2010-11).
This is just one of the findings of a new report published by the Alcohol Health Alliance (AHA), highlighting the need for the UK to cut back on boozing in order to reduce cases of cancer and deaths from the disease. As well as gaining coverage in the media, the report will help politicians recognise the need for new measures to reduce alcohol harm.
The AHA believes that the UK’s problems with alcohol aren’t just social. It’s important that politicians also realise the true extent of the damage drinking does to the nation’s health. And Cancer Research UK agrees – that’s why we sponsored the report.
Let’s look at the risks in more detail.
A new addition to the bowel screening programme is being rolled out
Back in December we wrote about Jeremy Hunt’s announcement that six centres in England would start using Bowel Scope Screening (BSS, also known as flexi-scope or flexible sigmoidoscopy) as part of their bowel screening programme in 2013.
This week, 55 year olds in the South of Tyne region (which includes Gateshead, Sunderland and South Tyneside) received the first wave of letters inviting them to be screened.
This is great news. Cancer Research UK has been involved in Bowel Scope Screening from the beginning – we co-funded a 16 year study which showed that it cuts deaths by over 40 per cent, and – unlike the current test – can actually prevent a third of bowel cancers among those screened.
As a result, it has the potential to save thousands of lives from bowel cancer each year.
As soon as the trial results were published in 2010, we said we wanted the Government to add BSS to the existing bowel screening programme, and later that year, they agreed, setting aside £60m to fund it.
Since then we’ve been calling for Bowel Scope Screening to start as soon as possible, so it’s fantastic to see it finally happen.
The Chancellor has delivered his fourth Budget
The Chancellor, George Osborne, presented his fourth Budget today, against a backdrop of poor growth and declining poll ratings for his Party since last year’s Budget.
Many of us are feeling the pinch in these harsh economic times – including many affected by cancer.
Here’s our reaction to the budget as it affects us at Cancer Research UK.
Professor Allan Hackshaw gave a public lecture at UCL
The success of global tobacco marketing is undeniable.
Over decades, tobacco companies have somehow managed to maintain common myths about smoking: it makes you look cool, relieves stress, and manages to make both men and women look sexy.
As a result, and in defiance of the long-established health risks associated with smoking (including increased risk of cancer, heart disease and respiratory diseases) – which result in half of long-term smokers dying as a result of their habit – the tobacco industry continues to make eye-watering profits.
And rates of smoking are increasing in countries with the highest levels of population growth.
Indeed, as the tobacco industry itself likes to boast – “If you can market a product that kills people, you can sell anything”. Smoking causes 6 million deaths each year around the world, yet 1 billion people worldwide still smoke.
So, asked Professor Allan Hackshaw, in the last in a series of ‘Lunchtime Lectures’ at University College London: Are cigarettes the most ‘successful’ product ever?
Some activities are riskier than others
What do these headlines have in common?
They’re all statements of the relative risk of developing cancer. They tell us how much more, or less, likely the disease is in one group, compared to another.
But crucially, they don’t tell us anything about the overall likelihood of any of these things happening at all – what’s known as the absolute risk.
In this post we’ll explore the notion of risk, and some of the common pitfalls of taking headlines involving risk at face value.
Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
Ever wondered what actually goes on inside a cancer research lab?
The Birmingham Cancer Research UK Centre is a partnership between Cancer Research UK, the University of Birmingham, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust and Birmingham Children’s Hospital Foundation Trust.
Yesterday, the centre’s staff – scientists, doctors, nurses and others – took to Twitter, to show what an average day of researching and treating cancer looks like.
It all looked like great fun, and if you want to scroll back through the day’s chatter you can search Twitter for “#bhamcancerday”.
But as well as this, Cancer Research UK funded PhD student Beckie Port – one of the brains behind the day – has put together this short slideshow of the day’s pictures, and collected them together on the Storify website. Do have a look:
The Centre’s also having an open day on Weds 10th April, where you’ll have a chance to chat to cancer research scientists and doctors, and understand more about how discoveries are being taken from the lab into treatments designed to benefit cancer patients.
If you’re in the area, you can register here.