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Are health warnings working?

Alcohol is largely to blame for an "alarming" rise in the rate of oral cancers among British men and women in their forties, says Cancer Research UK. Will you change your drinking habits?

Cancers of the lip, mouth, tongue and throat in this age group have risen by 26% in the past decade, and the charity say alcohol consumption, which has doubled since the 1950s, and smoking are most likely to blame.

But the World Cancer Research Fund found earlier this year that 27% of British people are ignoring health advice and consuming what they want, believing that scientists are always changing their minds.

Are you worried about the risk of cancer? Do you pay attention to health warnings? Have you changed your lifestyle to try to prevent cancer? Or do you ignore health advice and consume what you want?

Read about Cancer Research UK’s findings

Read the World Cancer Research Fund study on their website

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites


Published: Tuesday, 11 August, 2009, 10:35 GMT 11:35 UK

All comments as they come in

Added: Wednesday, 12 August, 2009, 11:14 GMT 12:14 UK

..show me, in molecular detail, exactly how ethanol causes cancer. I want full ..mechanisms. They can't provide them because they don't know.

Paul

Alcohol, like DNA, is an organic compound. Under some situations they can react, altering certain genes. Alcohol can also enhance mitotic activity (the process of cell division) Put the 2 together & it's possible that mitosis goes out of control which is all cancer is. But I suspect I'm teaching Grandma to suck eggs, you kow it all anyway.

Pete B, Malvern, Uk

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Added: Wednesday, 12 August, 2009, 11:11 GMT 12:11 UK

If a product is legal surley it must be safe?

scouseman

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Added: Wednesday, 12 August, 2009, 11:06 GMT 12:06 UK

I would give up drinking and smoking tomorrow if I could find an alternative. But this government doesn't seem able to provide any alternative whatsoever, even after 12 years in power. So what hope is there for people like me but to go on smoking and drinking despite all the health warnings. What we want is an alternative to the smoking/drinking culture, and we want it now.

L A Odicean, Lower Sidcup

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Added: Wednesday, 12 August, 2009, 11:05 GMT 12:05 UK

I know it sounds harsh, but I've little sympathy for anyone who gets an illness /disease through their own lifestyle choices. I often get harrassed for money by alcoholics & drug users; who are given housing, methadone, vitamin shakes, et al, and can hence spend their benefit on more booze & drugs. As adults we surely understand that there are risks to life? If people want to drink themselves to death let them... In an isolated part of the UK, away from anyone trying to have a 'normal' life.

Laura Jackson, Luton, United Kingdom

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Added: Wednesday, 12 August, 2009, 11:02 GMT 12:02 UK

its a bit late for the government to jump on the "take care of one's health" bandwagon,
afterall haven't all britains governments used the law and its authority to exploit the public's weaknesses with regard to tobacco and alcohol?
if you were in charge of a barn full of horses,
would you be surprised to find them all gone if you caresslessly left the gate open?

blue n silver

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Added: Wednesday, 12 August, 2009, 11:01 GMT 12:01 UK

Health warnings have a limited effect. NHS, and those interested parties associated with it, eg research labs, pharmaceutical companies are constantly scaremongering. The only way to stop self abuse and the medical consequences is by introducing some form of rationing for alcohol, cigarettes, fatty foods, etc. If we don't go and see our GP's then we're deemed "neglectful", if we do go and see our GP's we're deemed " hypochondriac". There's no happy medium in the NHS and we're always to blame!

[TechnoGhost1963], buried on page 36, United Kingdom

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Added: Wednesday, 12 August, 2009, 10:59 GMT 11:59 UK

There is a difference between excessive drinking and alcoholism. The person who merely drinks more than they should might be helped, but an alcoholic is not going to heed any health warnings as they are practically beyond reasoning with.

[dudeiancan]

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Added: Wednesday, 12 August, 2009, 10:56 GMT 11:56 UK

Science can be used to prove that everything is bad for you.

If it could be used to prove things that matter, rather than scaring people it would be interesting.

No. Health warnings are not working as people know that smoking causes cancer of this, drinking causes liver damage.

Once you take away peoples choice to do what they want, then health warnings will work.

Joshua Porteus, Oxford, United Kingdom

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Added: Wednesday, 12 August, 2009, 10:51 GMT 11:51 UK

Did anyone hear the now show last week?

Everything that people disagree with will, at some point or another, be found to "cause Cancer".

I find it impossible to take these reports seriously now, because it seems that every day there's something else that causes cancer or some other horrible disease, and they won't stop until we're all living on the same prescribed diet of synthesized mush every single day.

That'd be a great life, eh.

Oh, by the way, I hear mushrooms are poisonous!

Martin Greenaway, Farnborough, United Kingdom

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Added: Wednesday, 12 August, 2009, 10:48 GMT 11:48 UK

The constant subliminal awareness probably has some kind of effect. I'm constantly aware of the fact that what I'm drinking is causing damage, but because the effect isn't immediate and only long term.

I'm certain most drink or smoke until they feel some ill-effect, or witness it happen to a friend of family member. It is at this point they reconsider their habits.

The constant reminders do help keep us aware.

Stephen McCann, Glasgow, United Kingdom

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Added: Wednesday, 12 August, 2009, 10:47 GMT 11:47 UK

They are a flimsy bunch with no backbone, no wonder they get ill!

[solomondogs]
-
What this has to do with this discussions, I don't know.

I wonder how much houses were when you brought your first one? 5k, maybe 10k? You need to earn ~30k now just to have a minor chance of getting on the housing ladder thanks to your generation of greedy baby boomers.

Arrogance? It is not arrogance, it is confidence, there is a major difference, without it, I would have got nowhere in life.

Rick Davis, Awaiting moderation - Then put into the middle of a discussion. The BBC way of killing debate.

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Added: Wednesday, 12 August, 2009, 10:41 GMT 11:41 UK

Another health scare to divert the gullible public's gaze away from the much more serious damage done by car fumes and industrial pollution. I trust that all the complaining motorists out there are willing to pay for the deleterious effects of their lifestyle choice as well?

PJ, London

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Added: Wednesday, 12 August, 2009, 10:38 GMT 11:38 UK

The government has a moral and ethical duty to inform the people about health risks. Of course there are a certain proportion of the population that ignore the information.

But I do not trust this government to give the correct information with regard to anything after the expenses scandal.

Shah, London

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Added: Wednesday, 12 August, 2009, 10:37 GMT 11:37 UK

I was lucky. I only lost half the right hand side of my lower jaw to squamous cell carcinoma, with all the associated nerve damage. Early diagnosis and treatment is important for a good prognosis.

I researched my condition and my findings show the only recognised mediator for squamous cell carcinoma is strong ultraviolet (UV) radiation. I'll not permit modern tooth filling that employs a UV curing source anymore. It's back to a "Mercury Amalgam" for me!

Best regards, suricat.

Ray Dart, Clacton-on-Sea, United Kingdom

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Added: Wednesday, 12 August, 2009, 10:36 GMT 11:36 UK

"Are health warnings working?"

Not usually.

Trouble is, most things most people enjoy are unhealthy, some positively addictive: tobacco and alcohol.

But I don't see the government getting too strict as it takes vast taxes from addictions. If nothing else tobacco and alcohol guarantee it a steady tax income.

It contradicts all this nonsense about our "ageing population". Many of the younger generation will predecease their parents.

Doctor Bob

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