New statistics from the Ministry of Health confirm that gut cancers, the group of cancers that affect the digestive system, remain the most common form of cancer in New Zealand. Also known as gastrointestinal cancers, they include cancers of the oesophagus, stomach, liver, gall bladder and bile duct, pancreas and bowel.
On average, 17 New Zealanders are diagnosed with a gut cancer every day, that’s more than 6,000 every year. Sadly, half of those diagnosed with a gut cancer will not survive beyond 5 years. These figures represent a terrible toll being paid by cancer fighters and their loved ones, all of whom are the impetus behind the annual GIVE IT UP for Gut Cancer campaign.
The good news is we have some control
Statistics from the World Cancer Research Fund International show that around 40 percent of cancer cases could be prevented by tackling risk factors relating to diet, nutrition and physical activity. Te Aho o Te Kahu, the Cancer Control Agency, reports that approximately 30 to 50 percent of all cancers are preventable if we address – among other factors – the consumption of alcohol and unhealthy foods and habits such as too little exercise.
While these are harrowing statistics, the good news is that we all have some control over our own individual cancer risk, which can be reduced by simply making some positive lifestyle changes.
The Gut Cancer Foundation has outlined the following ways to reduce the risk of developing a gut cancer:
- Do not smoke
- Maintain a healthy body weight
- Be physically active
- Eat a diet high in vegetables and fruit
- Limit your intake of alcohol
What is the 'GIVE IT UP' Campaign?
Despite the prevalence and toll of gut cancers in New Zealand, the Gut Cancer Foundation is one of only two charities representing them. The Gut Cancer Foundation focuses on research for earlier diagnosis and better treatments, and on awareness of signs and symptoms of gut cancers. GIVE IT UP for Gut Cancer is a campaign that raises essential funds to progress this work and save more lives.
The GIVE IT UP campaign asks people to give up something they enjoy for the month of March to raise funds for the cause, and in the process make positive lifestyle changes for themselves that will help reduce their own cancer risk.
Participants can choose between giving up one of the following:
- Sweet treats, or
- Being sedentary
What Clear Head Drinks are doing to support the 'GIVE IT UP' campaign
We have proudly come on board as an official partner for this campaign, primarily for those participants who choose to give up alcohol during the month of March. It’s worth mentioning we can help those who are giving up the sweet treats as well, as many of our non-alcoholic products are also low in sugar, making them a perfect choice for people wanting to make healthier choices.
All registered participants will be provided with a special code that enables them to purchase non-alcoholic and low-sugar drinks at a discounted rate during the month of March. We’re also donating e-vouchers that will go into the Foundation's prize packs - for the draw they are doing for participants who raise over $1000 during this campaign.
We are so thrilled to be supporting this campaign. Most of us will have a connection with someone who has been impacted by one of these cancers. In promoting a healthier lifestyle change for the duration of the challenge, that may then become an ongoing lifestyle choice, is something we are pleased to be involved with and can support.
Want ideas for non-alcoholic drinks that are also low in sugar?
The good news is that most non-alcoholic drinks are naturally lower in calories and sugars than the full strength alcoholic versions, bonus! While not all non-alcoholic drinks will fall into the “low sugar” category, we do have a good range of options that do, so if a low-sugar non-alcoholic beverage is what you’re after, be sure to check out these great options:
- The Giesen 0% Sauvignon Blanc is a low sugar non-alcoholic wine with just 1.8 grams of sugar per 100ml
- For a low sugar non-alcoholic beer you could try the Sawmill Bare Beer, this has less than 0.16 grams of sugar per 330ml bottle or there’s UNLTD. Lager with 0.3 grams of sugar per 100ml.
- For an alcohol-free RTD you could go for the 23rd St Signature G&T or any of the Finery range of sparking non-alcoholic cocktails which are all sugar free.
There’s plenty of other great options available too so take a look and see what appeals to you. Whether or not you’re doing the GIVE IT UP campaign, these stats are a great reminder of the harm alcohol can cause, and the benefits that come from switching over to non-alcoholic drinks!