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Drinkers warned as deaths from alcohol-linked diseases rise

Deaths from conditions linked to alcohol - such as bowel and breast cancer - have risen slightly, figures show.

New data published by Public Health England (PHE) shows a 1% rise in deaths from conditions related to drinking, from 22,779 in 2013 to 22,967 deaths in 2014.

These include some deaths from heart disease, cancer of the oesophagus and mouth, breast and bowel cancer and diabetes Type 2.

Meanwhile, fewer adults are dying from conditions directly caused by alcohol, such as alcoholic liver disease and alcohol poisoning.

Professor Kevin Fenton, director of health and wellbeing at PHE, said: "There are over 10 million people in England drinking alcohol at increasingly harmful levels putting them at risk of conditions such as cancer.

"For women who drink, they are 20% more likely to get breast cancer than those that don't.

"Alcohol harms individuals, families and communities and it's crucial that, alongside effective local interventions and treatment for those that need it, we look more widely at what affects drinking behaviour in this country.

"Public Health England will soon be providing a report to Government on how we can reduce the harms caused by alcohol."

Izzi Seccombe, the Local Government Association's community and wellbeing spokeswoman, said: "While it is a positive trend that alcohol-related deaths in some parts of the country have fallen, in others there has been an increase.

"One of the ways to tackle this issue is for a public health objective to be included within the Licensing Act. This would give councils the power to limit the opening of late-night premises in areas where there are particular concerns about the impact of alcohol on public health."

Sarah Toule, head of health information at the World Cancer Research Fund, said: "About 24,000 cancer cases could be avoided every year in the UK if everyone stopped drinking alcohol.

"We recommend that, when it comes to cancer prevention, people avoid alcohol as much as possible, as any amount increases the risk of cancer. If people are going to drink, then they should have no more than seven drinks a week spread over at least three days."

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