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Last Updated: Saturday, 22 March 2008, 01:10 GMT
Women drinkers 'face cancer risk'
Women drinking in a bar
A glass of wine can contain as much as 3.5 units of alcohol
Women who drink above the government's recommended limit are 50% more likely to develop breast cancer, the Department of Health has said.

A 10m advertising campaign has been launched targeting middle-aged women who might underestimate their drinking.

A health department report, which has yet to be published, says women who drink more than 14 units of alcohol a week are at increased risk.

Cancer Research says alcohol causes about 2,000 breast cancer cases a year.

It's fair to say that most women don't know how much they're drinking
Dawn Primarolo
Public Health Minister
Public Health Minister Dawn Primarolo said: "Women who regularly drink too much are 50% more likely to develop breast cancer. And many drink too much simply because they have no idea how many alcohol units they are consuming.

"After the campaign no-one will be in any doubt as to how many units they're drinking and the impact that can have on their health."

There is concern that stronger wine of up to 13% alcohol and larger 250ml glasses can make women think they are drinking less than they are. A glass can contain as much as 3.5 units of alcohol.

Ms Primarolo said professional women who drank too much had "gone under the radar" for a long time.

"It's fair to say that most women don't know how much they're drinking," she said.

"They don't know how many units they drinking. And don't know that, at 3.5 units, that large glass of Rioja they drank last night actually took them over their daily amount."

Other health risks for women who binge drink include liver disease, unplanned pregnancies and ruptured bladders.



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