The Vision for Alternative Development (VALD), has called on government to prioritize cancer prevention.

According to the organization, this can be done by implementing an alcohol taxation policy to reduce the death rate caused by alcohol consumption.

It also urged government to support awareness creation among the citizenry on the prevention and control of alcohol consumption amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.

A Director at VALD, Labram Musah, in a statement to commemorate World Cancer Day and copied to the Ghana News Agency said alcohol consumption was a leading risk factor for cancer.

He said the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that if the trend of alcohol consumption continued the world would see a 60 percent increase in cancer cases over the next two decades.

Mr Musah said an estimated 81 percent in new cases would occur in low-and middle-come countries, including Ghana where survival rates were currently lowest.

According to him, “alcohol has been the cause of cancer since 1980s but public awareness and policy action has been very low, adding that alcohol-related cancer causes 650,000 deaths every year.

He said the preventive strategies best suited to reduce alcohol-related cancer burden were alcohol taxation, alcohol availability regulations and alcohol advertising bans.

“Evidence shows that informing people, increasing awareness and highlighting alcohol’s cancer risks will lead to alcohol control measures and reduce the cancer burden and mortality”.

Mr Musah said in Ghana about 76.6 percent of Ghanaians aged 15 years and above were either lifetime abstainers or have abstained from drinking alcohol in the past 12 months and that; “this means that 23.3 percent of this population (aged 15 years and above) take alcohol.

He said public awareness on causes of cancer was low as compared to other communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDS while alcoholic advertisements were aired on television, radio and online portals without in-depth education on the results of its consumption.