Date PostedOctober 5, 2013

NZ University links Breast Cancer Deaths to Alcohol

According to research which has emerged from a New Zealand University, excessive alcohol consumption may contribute to breast cancer in women.

Studies show that breast cancer is the leading cause of alcohol-related deaths for women in New Zealand according to the researchers from the University of Otago.

The New Zealand Health Promotion Agency published an assessment of the consequences of drinking alcohol. According to the report more than one in 20 deaths of people under the age of 80 was attributed to alcohol.

Researchers also discovered that in women almost half (43 per cent) of all alcohol related deaths were caused by injuries sustained and more than 30 per cent were because of cancers.

The following post explains:

Researchers used mortality data for 2004 and 2007 and applied to that World Health Organisation methodology to measure the impact of alcohol on the health of New Zealanders.

Professor Jennie Connor from Otago University said alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer by about 10 percent for every extra drink per day.

“For young women because their baseline risk is so low, it doesn’t amount to very many more cases of breast cancer. But amongst middle-aged and older women, where the risk of breast cancer is much higher, it’s quite a substantial increase in risk from drinking,” she said.

Connor said there is no threshold for the safe consumption of alcohol for many chronic diseases.

Alcohol Health Watch director Rebecca Williams said the report’ s findings are not surprising. She said it’s easy to link alcohol with a road crash or violent incident, but slower harms that take time to take effect can be ignored.

Read more at: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/health/2013-07/15/c_132543250.htm

As with most things in life when abused and consumed in excess alcohol is bad for you, both in the short term and in the long term. This is very troubling when you consider that statistics show most Australians drink with the intention of getting drunk every time and also do so by consuming an average of 11 standard drinks at a time – the recommended daily intake is no more than 2.

Conversely when consumed in moderation alcohol can be extremely beneficial to one’s health. And in women some of the health benefits include improved heart and bone health in later life. Some researchers have gone so far as to state that people who consume no alcohol at all may actually have shorter lifespans than those who drink occasionally.

So how do we tackle the issue of alcohol fuelled health problems, particularly in women? The first thing should be through education from an early age. While we are already conditioned to think binge drinking is cool from a young age, a paradigm shift needs to occur where excessive drinking is no longer glamourized. People need to be educated from a young age about the woes of excessive drinking, by both educators and parents – who play the biggest role in their children’s decision making.

Secondly we need to ensure that the laws put in place to protect our society from alcohol harm are adequately enforced. Responsible Service of Alcohol rules are important in protecting society from their own bad decisions, particularly by serving alcohol in a responsible manner and refusing alcohol to anyone who is unduly intoxicated. It also involves denying alcohol to minors or anyone who cannot prove their age with a photo ID.

 

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Peter Cutforth is a Director at Urban E-Learning, a global elearning, OH&S training, and web strategy firm based in Little Edward St. Spring Hill, Brisbane, Australia. Urban E-Learning provides compliance related online , Distance and Face-to-Face training products in the construction, hospitality and heavy vehicle transport sectors, to name a few. Examples include the White Card Construction induction course and the RSA - Responsible Service of Alcohol course. Peter's interests extend to training, safety and compliance, online marketing, and Mobile Apps.

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