“Do I want my glass of wine or do I want to raise my risk of breast cancer?” (1) This is what medical chief Dame Sally Davies has told everyone in relation to the concern that alcohol related deaths are on the rise again (2). Statistics show that throughout 2014, there were a total of 8,697 alcohol-related deaths in the UK with men counting towards two-thirds of the total (3). It was also told at a science and technology committee hearing that she wanted MPs to start taking action towards the awareness of this matter (4), as well as urging other people to know what risks are involved and to ‘do what she does’ (5). Since all of these deaths are related to lifestyle and individual choice-making, it is know than ‘about 24,000 cancer cases could be avoided every year in the UK’ (6). However, although there are endless risks with alcohol consumption, Dame Sally accepted the fact that around one unit a day can bring some health benefits (6) although this is seriously outweighed by the negative impacts caused by alcohol- as proven by the death rates.
1, Donnelly, L. (2016). Do as I do, think about cancer before you have a glass of wine, says chief medical officer. The Telegraph Online, available at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/12136938/Do-as-I-do-think-about-cancer-before-you-have-a-glass-of-wine-says-chief-medical-officer.html [accessed 3rd February 2016].
2, 5 BBC News- Health. (2016). England’s medical chief gives stark alcohol warning. BBC News, available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-35471958 [accessed 3rd February 2016]
3, 4, 6 Gayle, D. (2016). Drinkers urged to think about risks are alcohol-related deaths rocket. The Guardian Online, available at: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/feb/03/drinkers-risks-alcohol-related-deaths-rocket [accessed 3rd February 2016]
This news story may seem like any other health story promoting the dangers to our health but the fact that this is newsworthy is because of how it links to so many different factors. For example, Dame Sally makes the reports sound like any amount of alcohol at any time will make yo have cancer that second. This makes the whole issue sound very misleading and almost giving out the completely wrong message, also from her quote “Do I want my glass of wine or do I want to raise my risk of breast cancer?” Even though this may very well be misleading, it could even be a tactic to scare people reading the reports into changing their habits (if they drink).
However, this links perfectly to the main fact that the alcohol industry makes around 60% of its business through problem drinkers, which is obviously a tragic yet serious matter since this news story could be tied into this area- even bringing the NHS into it; Dame Sally may be telling MPs to present the warnings of alcohol and its cancer risks but it’s MPs’ job to assist the NHS in helping these people, whether it’s addiction, an emotional crutch for people or it’s actually caused cancer to them. This means solving their financial crisis once and for all, which has been an ongoing battle for a very long time now and has proven to have a negative impact on patients health and quality of care they recieve. However, the fact that the NHS is under severe financial strain means that the MPs should not only be doing what Dame Sally says but doing everything it takes to resolve it and assisting other health trusts and organisations to help as well.