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Think of cancer before a glass of wine, CMO urges

People must consider their cancer risk before they reach for another alcoholic drink, England's chief medical officer has said.

Dame Sally Davies said that before she reaches for another glass of wine, she pauses to think whether she wants the wine or the consequent increased risk of cancer.

Speaking at a science and technology committee hearing, Davies said: "I would like people to make their choice knowing the issues and do as I do when I reach for my glass of wine and think, 'Do I want my glass of wine or do I want to raise my risk of breast cancer?'. And I take a decision each time I have a glass."

This comes after official statistics revealed that alcohol-related deaths are increasing. There were 8,697 alcohol-related deaths in the UK in 2014 (14.3 per 100,000 of the population), compared to 14 deaths per 100,000 in 2013.

No specific type of alcohol is better or worse, in terms of cancer it is the alcohol itself that leads to the damage, regardless of whether it is in wine, beer or spirits.

Alcohol has been linked to seven types of cancer: mouth cancer; pharyngeal cancer (upper throat); oesophageal cancer (food pipe); laryngeal cancer (voice box), breast cancer, bowel cancer and liver cancer.