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Friday, November 28, 2014

Alcohol Consumption and Liver Cancer

Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to liver cancer, estimated to be responsible for 746,000 worldwide deaths each year, making it the second most common cause of cancer death, according to Medical News Today. The United European Gastroenterology (UEG) is supporting the second annual Awareness Week on Alcohol Related Harm (AWARH); their goal is to generate greater awareness of the relationship between alcohol and liver cancer.

A new pan-European Survey of Digestive Health commissioned by UEG, hospital admissions for alcoholic liver disease, which is considered the key precursor to liver cancer, have increased by more than 120% since 1995 in England, Scotland, Wales and Finland. UEG spokesperson Professor Patrizia Burra explains, "There is a need to develop specific therapies for the treatment of patients with alcoholic liver disease, especially as it is the second leading risk factor for disease burden in Europe."

"Excessive alcohol consumption amongst young people is also a growing concern and cost-effective prevention programmes must be implemented and novel treatments developed to enable us to tackle liver disease and reduce deaths from liver cancer across Europe," adds Prof. Burra.

The UEG has tips on how to drink safely and reduce the risk of developing liver disease and cancer:
  • Have 2-3 alcohol-free days a week to allow the liver time to repair itself.
  • Men: Drink no more than 3-4 alcoholic drinks on any day (equivalent to 852ml of beer/250ml of wine) and a maximum of 21 drinks in any week.
  • Women: Drink no more than 2-3 alcoholic drinks on any day (equivalent to 568ml beer/175ml of wine) and a maximum of 14 drinks in any week.
  • Be symptom smart and seek medical advice if you experience pain in the lower right hand side of your ribs, general nausea and lack of energy.
  • Protect yourself from blood-borne viruses Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C infections which can lead to liver cancer.

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