Alcohol-related cancer is projected to kill 135,000 in England by 2035
Cancer Research UK commissioned Sheffield University to conduct a new study (PDF) into the extent, burden and costs of alcohol-related cancers. The findings are crucial: Alcohol-related cancers will cause about 135,000 deaths and cost the NHS £2bn over the next 20 years in England, unless concerted action is taken to prevent and reduce alcohol consumption and related harm.
The analysis forecasts more than 1.2m hospital admissions for alcohol-related cancer over the next two decades. Alcohol trends were estimated across the whole population for England in 2015-2035. Using a scenario that incorporates both the recent shifts in consumption alongside longer-term trends, the average consumption is estimated to be 14.6 units/week and the abstention rate 20.7%.
These new figures reveal the devastating impact alcohol will have over the coming years,” said Alison Cox, the director of prevention at Cancer Research UK.
The majority of alcohol-related cancer deaths in 2035 are expected to come from
- Oesophageal cancer (3,697),
- Bowel cancer (1,369),
- Other mouth and throat cancers (887),
- Breast cancer (835) and
- Liver cancer (333).
Conclusion: alcohol policy saves lives
In their study, entitled “Alcohol and Cancer Trends: Intervention Studies” researchers Angus et. al. show that a 50p minimum unit price would help to reduce alcohol-related deaths and cut healthcare costs by £1.3bn
Cancer Research UK urges the government to counter public ignorance about the link between alcohol use and cancer and introduce minimum unit pricing (MUP) to prevent the number of deaths reaching 7,100 annually by 2035.
The new analysis shows that a 50p MUP of alcohol could, over 20 years, reduce alcohol-related deaths in England by about 7,200, including about 670 cancer deaths. It would also reduce healthcare costs by £1.3bn, the research suggests.
Angus C, Holmes J, Pryce R, Meier P & Brennan A (2016) Alcohol and cancer trends: Intervention Studies University of Sheffield and Cancer Research UK