On November 17, 2017, HCC presented ‘Alcohol and Cancer in the Caribbean‘ a webinar for the 2nd Annual Caribbean Alcohol Reduction Day (CARD). With the support of it’s partners PAHO, CARPHA and CARICOM hosted the 2nd Annual Caribbean Alcohol Reduction Day (CARD). The theme for 2017 was: Drink Less, Reduce Cancer.
The harmful use of alcohol, along with tobacco use, unhealthy diet and physical inactivity, is recognized as one of four major common risk factors for NCDs; yet alcohol has received comparatively less attention than the other 3 risk factors.
Alcohol contributes to cancer, liver and heart disease, mental illness, violence, accidents and injuries. Alcohol consumption causes many cancers including: Mouth cancer, Pharyngeal cancer (upper throat), Oesophageal cancer (food pipe), Laryngeal cancer (voice box), Breast cancer, Bowel cancer, and Liver cancer. Globally the harmful use of alcohol is linked to 3.3 million preventable deaths annually.
Excessive drinking of alcohol is a major health risk, occurring particularly increasingly among Caribbean youth resulting in alcohol related violent deaths among the top 5 causes of death in the region and the commonest cause of death among young men. Young women are especially vulnerable; alcohol consumption disproportionately increases the risk of breast cancer between menarche and first birth.
The presenters were:
Alcohol Consumption and Cancer in the Caribbean – Dr. Kevin Shield, Independent Scientist, Institute for Mental Health Policy Research, Head, WHO/PAHO Collaborating Centre, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).
The burden of disease caused by alcohol consumption is a key health problem confronting all countries. Furthermore, alcohol consumption is a leading risk factor for the development of cancer, with a large portion of the global alcohol attributable death burden being caused by cancer. Accordingly, this presentation provides an overview for the Caribbean of historical and current alcohol consumption levels, and presents data on the resulting number of alcohol-attributable new cancer cases and cancer deaths in 2012. Furthermore, this presentation will cover policies which countries can implement to reduce harmful alcohol consumption and the resulting health burdens.
Alcohol Policies in the Caribbean – Dr. Maristela Monteiro, Senior Advisor Alcohol and Substance Abuse, PAHO.
In 2011, all Member States adopted a regional plan of action to reduce harmful use of alcohol. Dr Monteiro will present on the status of alcohol policies and plans for the Caribbean countries.
Alcohol use among the elderly in the eastern Caribbean: associations with NCDs and psychosocial issues – Dr. Rohan Maharaj, HCC Alcohol Policy Advisor.
This presentation reports on the prevalence of alcohol use and it’s correlation with NCDs and psychosocial issues among populations over 60 years old in the eastern Caribbean as part of research undertaken through the ECHORN (Eastern Caribbean Health Outcomes Research Network) Cohort Study (ECS) launched in 2013.
A recording of the webinar can be seen below.
The objectives of the 2017 CARD are to:
- Increase public and policymaker awareness about the harmful effects of alcohol misuse.
- Increase public and policymaker awareness about the links between alcohol consumption and cancer risk.
- Call on Policy makers to implement specific policies to reduce alcohol consumption. In order to create environments in which drinking less is the easier option, the HCC calls on governments to implement supportive policies. The call to action this year is in line with the updated WHO Best Buy Interventions to reduce the harmful use of alcohol.
- Increase excise taxes on alcoholic beverages
- Enact and enforce bans or comprehensive restrictions on exposure to alcohol advertising (across multiple types of media)
- Enact and enforce restrictions on the physical availability of retailed alcohol (via reduced hours of sale)
Caribbean Alcohol Reduction Day: A Series of Infographics – Alcohol and Cancer in Caribbean
View/download the PDF version here.
‘Alcohol and Cancer in the Caribbean’ a Webinar for Caribbean Alcohol Reduction Day (CARD) 2017
Global and regional experts including: Dr. Kevin Shield, Independent Scientist, Institute for Mental Health Policy Research, Head, WHO/PAHO Collaborating Centre, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Dr. Maristela Monteiro, Senior Advisor Alcohol and Substance Abuse, PAHO and Dr. Rohan Maharaj, HCC Alcohol Policy Advisor, discussed the harmful use of alcohol and its intersection with cancer risk, and explore the policy options to reduce the harmful use of alcohol among Caribbean people.
Read more about the webinar and watch a recording of it here.
Video Messages in Support of Caribbean Alcohol Reduction Day
Dr. Anselm Hennis, Director, Department of Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health, PAHO
Dr. C. James Hospedales, Executive Director, CARPHA & HCC Special Advisor
Dr. Rohan Maharaj, HCC Alcohol Policy Advisor
 McPherson, K., Steel, C. M., & Dixon, J. M. (2009). 5 Breast cancer—epidemiology, risk factors, and genetics. ABC of Breast Diseases, 69, 24
 Effective interventions with cost effectiveness analysis (CEA) ≤ I$100 per DALY averted in LMICs
 Requires an effective system for tax administration and should be combined with efforts to prevent tax avoidance and tax evasion
 Requires capacity for implementing and enforcing regulations and legislation
 Formal controls on sale need to be complemented by actions addressing illicit or informally produced alcohol
The 5th Annual Caribbean Alcohol Reduction Day (CARD) took place on November 24th 2020, the Theme was Alcohol and COVID-19.
The objective of the fifth CARD webinar entitled “Alcohol and COVID-19” was to reflect on the alcohol consumption patterns over the course of the pandemic; the reciprocal impact of mental health under crisis conditions on alcohol consumption and related harms and comorbidities; government and alcohol industry action during the pandemic; and to discuss priority alcohol policy and programming, related mental health policy and programming and industry regulations moving forward as the pandemic continues. Read more
The 4th Annual Caribbean Alcohol Reduction Day (CARD) took place on Friday December 6th, 2019, the Theme was Women and Alcohol.
CARD 2019 focused on women and alcohol and the unique public health and NCD-related concerns linked to alcohol consumption among women. Alcohol use not only increases a woman’s risk of liver and cardiovascular diseases, cancer and assault, but consumption of alcohol during pregnancy increases the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, premature deliveries, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Alcohol use is also linked to breast cancer among women. Read more.
The 3rd Caribbean Alcohol Reduction Day (CARD) took place on November 29th 2018, The theme was: YOUTH: Let’s Talk About Alcohol.
In the world of today, young people’s drinking habits differ from that of the generations before them. Despite many decades of battles by international organisations like the World Health Organisation, against the harmful use of alcohol, social barriers, particularly drinking cultures in the Caribbean population, continue to hamper efforts to reduce harmful consumption of alcohol. Recent trends suggest that young people drink less on average, but that they are more prone to heavy episodic or binge drinking when they do drink. Read more.
The 1st Caribbean Alcohol Reduction Day (CARD) took place on November 18th 2016 and the theme was: Misuse of alcohol is a bigger problem than you think.
It was an initiative of the Healthy Caribbean Coalition (HCC) aimed at sensitising the people of the Caribbean to the harmful effects of abuse of alcohol and encouraging them to “drink less and live better”. Read more.