The Regional Municipality of Durham

News Release

Alcohol consumption linked to an increased risk of eight cancers

WHITBY, ON August 21, 2014

With university and college students gearing up for back to school, Durham Region Health Department is introducing a new campaign to increase awareness of the potential health effects of alcohol consumption and the risk of developing cancer. The campaign will be showcased throughout Durham in September, with a focus on post-secondary institutions.

According to a 2012 Health Department report, young adults in Durham Region between 19 and 24-years old have the highest rates of heavy drinking compared with other age groups. “This is a serious health concern because drinking even less than one drink per day over time can increase your risk of developing cancer,” explained Bisi Agiri-Saliu, a public health nurse with the Health Department.

Cancer Care Ontario reports that alcohol is linked to between 1,000 and 3,000 cancers diagnosed in Ontario each year. Drinking alcohol can increase the risk of eight types of cancer, including: colorectal, breast, colon, oral cavity, pharynx, esophagus, larynx and liver.

“Despite this evidence, many individuals are unaware of the link between alcohol and cancer,” Ms. Agiri-Saliu noted, “and only one in three Canadians is aware they can lower their risk of cancer by drinking less alcohol.”

Cancer Care Ontario recommends limiting alcohol use to no more than one drink per day for women and no more than two drinks per day for men. “If you don’t drink alcohol, don’t start and if you do drink alcohol, drink less,” said Ms. Agiri-Saliu. “Based on the evidence, alcohol should be avoided as even a small amount can increase cancer risk.”

For more information on the health effects of alcohol use, visit or call Durham Health Connection Line at 905-666-6241 or 1-800-841-2729.

Media inquiries:

The Regional Municipality of Durham:

Glendene Collins – Health Department, 905-668-7711 ext. 2999

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For more information, please contact Health Department.