Alcohol-cancer link among topics at event

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Leading public health and alcohol harm experts are set to speak in Timaru.
Professors Jennie Connor and Doug Sellman will be in Timaru on August 23 to present evidence that alcohol directly causes cancer, on behalf of the Alcohol Action NZ group.
Alcohol Action South Canterbury member Gordon Rosewall said the pair would also be discussing the way the alcohol industry created doubt about the evidence, just like the tobacco industry did in the past with the link between smoking and cancer.
‘‘A lot of people may not realise the serious long-term harm that regular consumption of alcohol can do. This presentation is about delivering the facts so people can make informed choices about alcohol consumption and their health.’’
Prof Connor has published information recently showing there are about 250 alcoholrelated cancer deaths a year in New Zealand.
About 60% of such deaths among women are due to breast cancer, a third of which occur in women drinking on average fewer than two standard drinks a day. Deaths caused by cancer resulted in an average 10.4 years of life lost per person affected, with more loss of life among Maori than non-Maori, and for breast cancer compared with other cancers.
Alcohol Action NZ argues for evidence-based changes to New Zealand’s alcohol laws in order to reduce alcoholrelated harm in the form of both chronic diseases and acute injury.
These changes include phasing out alcohol marketing, increasing the price of alcohol, reducing alcohol accessibility, raising the legal purchase age and increasing drink-driving countermeasures.
The group was founded in 2009 by people working in public health, addiction treatment and general health services. – Members of the public are invited to attend the free event, to be held in the Caroline Bay Community Lounge on Tuesday, August 23, starting at 7.30pm. A supper will follow the presentation.