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Cancer Council WA and the Mental Health Commission have launched a new campaign to raise awareness about the serious harms caused by alcohol, following research that showed almost half of West Australians were unaware that alcohol causes cancer.

Cancer Council WA CEO, Ashley Reid, said the new Alcohol. Think Again campaign, What’s your poison? aims to increase awareness of the serious health risks associated with alcohol use.

“While many people understand the link between alcohol and liver disease, the majority of West Australians are not aware that even low levels of alcohol use can increase cancer risk,” Mr Reid said.

“In partnership with the Mental Health Commission and Healthway, Cancer Council WA is launching a world-first campaign that takes us inside the body to show how alcohol converts to acetaldehyde, which is a poison.

“Every drink converts to more poison, which increases the damage at a cellular level. This process can lead to cancer.”

Mr Reid said the What’s your poison? campaign calls for West Australian adults to reduce their drinking to reduce the damage.

“Alcohol is categorised as a Group 1 carcinogen, the same as tobacco and asbestos, so when it comes to cancer risk, there is no safe level of alcohol use.

The more you drink and the more often you drink, the greater your risk of developing cancer,” he said.

Alcohol causes seven types of cancer, including cancers of the mouth, throat, oesophagus, liver, bowel and female breast

“Cancer Council WA is committed to delivering messages to help West Australians achieve the best possible level of health and wellbeing.”

What’s your poison? will be played across television, radio, online channels, social media and outdoor advertisements from 4 June.

Quotes attributed to Lindsay Hale, A/Commissioner Mental Health Commission
The Acting Mental Health Commissioner, Lindsay Hale, said the impact alcohol is having on individuals, families and the Western Australian health system is significant.
“Eight West Australians lose their lives every week due to alcohol-caused cancer, which illustrates why the Western Australian Government is investing in this critical campaign.
Alcohol use in Western Australia is high by national standards, and it is estimated about 400,000 Western Australians drink alcohol at levels likely to cause long-term health issues.” Mr Hale said.

“The effectiveness of hard-hitting, evidence-based public health campaigns like Alcohol. Think Again is well established, and this initiative is just one part of the State Government’s comprehensive approach to reduce preventable death and disease from alcohol in the community” he said.

“The campaign was developed in consultation with more than 130 Western Australian adults, and guided by experts in public health, research and social marketing.”
The campaign is the fifth instalment of the Alcohol and Health campaign stream since the Alcohol. Think Again program commenced in 2010.

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