Hongkong: Low Awareness Of Alcohol-Cancer Link And Rampant Binge Alcohol Consumption Culture
When asked what illnesses were most closely related to alcohol use, Hongkong citizens named liver disease, heart disease and high blood pressure as the top three. Fewer than 30% named cancer. At the same time, almost half of the Hongkongers who consumed alcohol between August and November 2018 did so in the form of binge alcohol intake at least once, according to a survey by a cancer awareness group.
The Hong Kong Anti-Cancer Society polled 1,019 people and found only 2% were aware that drinking could increase the risk of breast cancer the most common form of the disease among women in the city.
The findings were released on Sunday just days after a ban came into effect on Hongkongers under 18 years of age buying alcohol in shops.
Some 698 survey respondents said they had consumed alcohol in the prior three months. Forty-five per cent of these people had been binge drinking at least once in that period.
Alcohol and cancer, binge alcohol intake highly risky
The study showed that some 77% were aware that alcohol use could increase the risk of liver cancer, and 54% knew of the link with stomach cancer. But only 2% made a connection with breast cancer. And 40% of Hongkongers wrongly believed that taking up drinking at an early age could help the body adapt to alcohol and lower their cancer risk.
According to data from the World Cancer Research Fund, alcohol heightens the risk of at least six types of the disease, including liver, colorectal, breast and stomach.
A Danish study published in 2007 showed binge alcohol intake could increase the chance of developing breast cancer by 55 per cent when compared with the consumption of one drink.
In September 2018, The Lancet published a landmark scientific study showing that “no level of alcohol consumption improves health”.
Reduce, quit, abstain
Dr Rico Liu King-yin, chairman of the Hong Kong Anti-Cancer Society education subcommittee advised Hongkongers who use alcohol to reduce their intake, and those without the habit to abstain from alcohol altogether.