If, like so many of us, you always overindulge during the festive holidays, why not sign up for Dry January 2018, the annual movement that helps people reset their relationship with alcohol? Here, World Cancer Research Fund UK’s Press & PR Manager Deborah Hyde introduces Bill Jeffrey; at 83, he’s living proof that it’s never too late – and you’re never too old – to take the plunge and reduce your alcohol intake.
“I’m lucky; they caught it in the nick of time.”
Fifteen years ago, Bill was diagnosed with aggressive bowel cancer. It was a very tough time as Bill has always lived life to the full. Based in Belfast, he chairs the tenants’ forum of a large housing association, and is an active promoter of the arts, not least via his work as a literary agent. He’s even recently taken up cycling.
At his last annual check-up, Bill’s consultant gave him the great news that he wouldn’t need to see him for another five years.
“It did make me aware of the need to look after myself – we’re none of us invincible,” he says.
Alcohol and cancer: making the link
But Bill admits that he hadn’t previously been aware of the link between drinking alcohol and increased cancer risk.
“I’d always thought of smoking as being the main cancer-causing risk. I’m a regular, social drinker,” he explains. “My work means I’m frequently at conferences, book launches and arts openings, where there’s always a glass of wine being offered to guests – wine is very much the ‘social easer’ and ice-breaker at these sorts of events.”
Dry January: signing up
“When I found out about Dry January through World Cancer Research Fund – who are all about helping people reduce their cancer risk through diet, weight management and physical activity – I thought it’d offer me a great chance to stay the distance for a whole month, especially with the support and resources I can call on if I start to struggle,” he says.
“And I feel I’ll be in very good company, with over five million people having taken on the challenge last year. If I can give it a try, you can too!”