Women needed for alcohol awareness and cancer prevention study

Two women talking over a cup of tea
Two women talking over a cup of tea. Photo: Pexels.com

A research study to increase awareness of how alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer in women and to promote strategies for cutting down or quitting has been launched at Oxford Brookes University.

Dr Emma Davies, Reader in Psychology at Oxford Brookes, is launching the study and is looking for women aged 40 to 65 from different backgrounds to take part.

Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in the UK with 55,000 new cases diagnosed in women and 350 in men every year. Reducing alcohol intake in middle age can help reduce the chances of developing breast cancer and has the potential to improve the lives of thousands of people. The link between alcohol consumption and cancer has been documented in several studies by various organisations including the World Cancer Research Fund International and Cancer Research UK. 

Dr Davies said: “There’s a lack of awareness of how drinking alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer in women. The risks build up over time, but cutting down or giving up alcohol between the ages of 40 and 65 could reduce future cases of breast cancer.

“Our earlier research identified the reasons why women drink in midlife and some of the challenges that they faced when deciding to drink less.

“We also found most people were unaware that alcohol consumption is linked to breast cancer. I want to increase awareness of the link between alcohol consumption and breast cancer. I also plan to find out more about what tools will help women cut down or give up drinking if they want to.

“We know women don’t want a fearful or judgemental message about the dangers of drinking, but more of a supportive message about the benefits of giving up or cutting down, and strategies for doing that.”

The Oxford Brookes University study is funded by Prevent Breast Cancer, a charity dedicated to predicting and preventing breast cancer. The work will be supported by Club Soda and Soberistas - organisations that help people quit or cut down on alcohol and provide suggestions for alcohol free alternatives.

Dr Davies said: “There are tools to help pregnant or post-partum women give up alcohol, but very few resources for women aged 40 to 65.

“We need at least 200 participants from a range of backgrounds. We’ll be sending out a questionnaire and later on holding online focus groups.”

The results will be released via a short video and webinar and a new, innovative tool to help women if they want to cut down their alcohol intake.

Take part in the survey.