Cancer is one of the main causes of death attributable to alcohol in the European Union (EU). To reduce alcohol consumption and its harms, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the EU launched a new project this week, endowed with 10 million euros, with the aim of reducing health harms and economics of alcohol consumption in some thirty European countries.
Through this new project, the WHO and the EU aim to translate evidence into action to reduce alcohol consumption and its harms with the aim of raising awareness among the public and policy makers of the links between alcohol consumption and cancer risks.
This plan will thus support, according to the European branch of the WHO, evidence-based alcohol policy measures to reduce these risks, and will develop and support the implementation of related training packages for countries.
Among the glaring data revealed in the latest Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health 2018 concerns the level of alcohol consumption of countries. It shows that 8 of the 10 countries with the highest level of alcohol consumption in the world are located in the EU. Also, cancer is one of the main causes of alcohol-attributable death in the EU with a share of 29% in 2016. In the same year, nearly 80,000 people died of cancer attributable to alcohol in the EU. EU, and around 1.9 million years of life were lost due to premature mortality or disability, according to WHO data.
“ The EU has the highest level of alcohol consumption in the world. Not only can alcohol cause life-threatening illnesses, but it can also cause economic damage and put financial pressure on the social and healthcare systems of EU countries, which are already strained due to the Covid-19 pandemic, conflicts and humanitarian emergencies said John F. Ryan, Director of Public Health at the European Commission.
In this sense, the 3 specific objectives of EVID-ACTION are focused on health warning labels for alcoholic beverages. It is also a question of focusing on alcohol screening, but also capacity building or health education. The project entitled ” from facts to action supports actions across the EU, as well as in Iceland, Norway and Ukraine, to reduce harmful alcohol consumption.
Still with regard to cancer, the WHO warns that even small amounts of alcohol can have negative effects on health, citing as an example that around half of the cases of breast cancer attributable to alcohol in the are due to light or moderate alcohol consumption.
” Alcohol is a group 1 carcinogen, in the same category as arsenic, asbestos and tobacco. Yet most people are unaware of the many health risks alcohol poses explained Dr Hans Henri P. Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe.
Thus, and for the WHO, this project should make it possible to remedy this situation by improving labeling and health knowledge. It will also contribute to the achievement of the objectives of the European plan ” beat cancer which aims to fight cancer along the entire disease pathway – from prevention and early detection to diagnosis, treatment and quality of life for cancer patients.