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Denmark - alcohol and cancer

Kræftens Bekæmpelse

Danish Cancer Society

The Danish Cancer Society aims to unite the Danish population in a strong, active effort against cancer.

Alcohol and cancer

Alcohol is carcinogenic and the risk of cancer increases with the amount of alcohol consumed.

Facts

If no Danes drank alcohol, a significant number of cancer cases could be avoided in Denmark.

Alcohol does something to us

In 2017 the Danish Cancer Society launched a campaign “Alcohol does something to us”. The campaign was relaunched in 2018 with all the characters from the first movies united in one movie.

"Sometimes we get talkative and loud. Other times we just get terribly sleepy. We suddenly feel extremely charming and believe that we are the stars of the dance floor. Or we don’t whether we should laugh or cry – or both at the same time.


No matter how alcohol affects you, there is one thing we all have in common – that alcohol can cause cancer.
So drink less and reduce your risk of seven different types of cancer."

Cut the insignificant units

The campaign movie was based on an experiment – and the aim of the campaign was to start a reflection among Danish adults about their weekly intake of alcohol units – which are the important units for them and which are the unimportant units, which the more easily can do without. 

The campaign was relaunched in autumn of 2020. “Cut the insignicant units” have a website, where visitors can test which alcohol units they most easily can do without.

Surveys and studies

The Danish Cancer Society has performed four waves of surveys (before the campaign in 2017 and after each of the campaigns in 2017, 2018 and 2019). These data collections have been used for intern evaluations and published reports about adult Danes alcohol habits and awareness of alcohol and cancer.

A study “Can a Mass Media Campaign Raise Awareness of Alcohol as a Risk Factor for Cancer and Public Support for Alcohol Related Policies?” based on an evaluation of the 2017-campaign has also been published. The study found an increase in awareness of the alcohol and cancer link, as well as an increase in support of some alcohol-related policies following the campaign.

A further study "Awareness of alcohol as a risk factor for cancer: A population-based cross-sectional study among 3,000 Danish men and women" investigates the association between factors such as demography, smoking and alcohol consumption, and awareness of alcohol as a risk factor for cancer. "Conclusively, the study confirms a rather low public awareness of the link between alcohol and cancer in the Danish population, especially regarding certain cancer types such as breast cancer. Unprompted, 22.2% of respondents were aware of the link between alcohol and cancer, whereas prompted 44.8% were aware of this. When prompted about specific cancer types, 39.5% were aware of the fact that alcohol increases the risk of liver cancer and only 9.6% were aware of the link between alcohol and breast cancer."

Alcohol and cancer link - interview with Peter Dalum

A conversation with Peter Dalum, project manager on alcohol and prevention at the Danish Cancer Society, about alcohol and cancer, why the awareness of that link is so low and what could be done about it.