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Cancer: Alcoholic Drinks

Volume 492: debated on Wednesday 20 May 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) pursuant to the answer of 5 May 2009, Official Report, column 102W, on cancer: alcoholic drinks, what statistical evidence his Department holds of a relationship between alcohol consumption and female breast cancer; (274634)

(2) what statistics his Department holds on links between alcohol use and different forms of cancer in (a) men and (b) women.

The Department does not maintain a library of the numerous academic publications on the health harms, including cancer, associated with alcohol consumption, however it is important to note that as part of the policy making process the Department seeks expert advice from relevant health experts.

In addition to the scientific papers referenced in the answer of 5 May 2009, Official Report, column 102W, on cancer and alcoholic drinks, the Department holds copies of the following:

Committee on Carcinogenicity (COC) analysis into the consumption of alcohol and breast cancer. This analysis was published by the COC in their 2004 annual report;

“Alcohol, tobacco and breast cancer—collaborative reanalysis of individual data from 53 epidemiological studies, including 58,515 women with breast cancer and 95,067 women without the disease”, by Hamajima N, et al and published in the British Journal of Cancer 87 (11): 1234-1245;

“Meta-analysis of Studies of Alcohol and Breast Cancer with Consideration of the Methodological Issues”, by Key J, et al and published in Cancer Causes Control 17: 759-770; and

“Alcohol-attributable fractions for England: Alcohol-attributable mortality and hospital admissions”, Jones L et al., North West Public Health Observatory (2008). This reviews the relationships between alcohol consumption and alcohol-related harms and estimates the proportion of deaths and hospital admissions that are caused by alcohol, including cancer.