Last week, the BBC reported that alcohol was responsible for a 26% rise in cases of mouth cancer. This immediately had the whiff of dodgy statistics to me, and Pete Brown had a good go at it, especially with reference to the inaccurate link to beer.
When you look into the subject, it is clear that there are numerous risk factors for mouth cancer. By far the greatest is smoking, but chewing tobacco, mouthwashes and Human Papilloma Virus also feature alongside alcohol. And, even within the alcohol category, it is mainly linked with neat spirits rather than wine and beer.
It has also given rise to some ludicrous flights of bansturbation from the Righteous. Just look at this nonsense:
Dr Vinod Joshi, founder of the Mouth Cancer Foundation is suggesting people should 'avoid drinking alcohol altogether'.Given that the current “guidelines” are ludicrously low, when he starts banging on that they are “very high” you have to question exactly what planet he lives on. Has this man ever been in a pub? And the question must be asked whether the Mouth Cancer Foundation is actually a fakecharity.
The Department of Health's current advice is that men should not regularly drink more than 3-4 units of alcohol per day, and women should not regularly drink more than 2-3 units of alcohol per day.
He says: 'In view of the latest reports from Cancer Research UK, the current alcohol guidelines that we've got are actually very high.
'To reduce the risk of mouth cancer risk, the Mouth Cancer Foundation recommends that people should limit or avoid drinking alcohol altogether.'
For men, the Mouth Cancer Foundation recommends no more than occasional drinking of two standard drinks a day and for women no more than one standard drink a day.
And it continues:
Hazel Nunn, health information manager at Cancer Research UK, says: ‘These latest figures are really alarming. Alcohol consumption has doubled since the 1950s and the trend we are now seeing is likely to be linked to Britain's continually rising drinking levels.Umm, for the past few years, alcohol consumption in the UK has actually been falling. So why are you telling fibs, Hazel?
It all adds up to a typical fake health scare.
When alarmist reports speak of a “25% rise” in anything it is important to know what the baseline is. And apparently mouth cancer kills about 1800 people a year, as compared with 3000 with die in road accidents. I won’t be stopping going out of the house to avoid road accidents, and it’s highly likely most of those 1800 deaths are of people who have engaged in high-risk behaviours for many years. So it won’t deter me from drinking my quota, mostly in beer, each week.