Cancer Council Annual Review  2009-10
Leading change

Improving alcohol control

  • Alcohol is a known risk factor for cancer, estimated to account for more than three per cent of the total cancer burden. In 2005, there were nearly 3000 new cases of cancer and 1376 deaths from cancer due to excessive alcohol consumption.

    Researching community awareness

    In late 2009 we commissioned research to determine how to increase community awareness of alcohol as a cancer risk.

    Researchers from the Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer Control reviewed studies and conducted focus groups, finding low awareness that alcohol increases cancer risk and widespread misunderstandings, for example, that red wine reduces cancer risk.

    Focus group participants felt that the government and cancer organisations needed to increase community awareness of the link between alcohol consumption and cancer.

    National Alliance for Action on Alcohol

    Cancer Council Australia joined the new National Alliance for Action on Alcohol (NAAA), launched in March 2010, to focus on reducing harm and problems in the community caused by alcohol consumption.

    A recent survey of Australians revealed that 84 per cent of people were concerned about the impact of alcohol on the community and most wanted more action to prevent alcohol-related illness, injury and deaths.

    The NAAA’s initial priorities are:

    • reforming alcohol taxation
    • buying out by government of alcohol sponsorship in sports and the arts
    • increasing investment in prevention
    • strengthening the regulation of alcohol advertising
    • introducing health information labelling on alcohol products and including point-of-sale promotions
    • tightening controls on the sale and supply of alcohol.