Alcohol and Cancer ‘Spread’ and ‘Stains’

‘Spread’ and ‘Stains’ campaigns

The Alcohol and Cancer 'Spread' and 'Stains' campaign, originally launched in May 2010, aimed to reduce long-term harmful alcohol consumption by increasing awareness of the health risks related to the long-term consequences of harmful drinking, in particular alcohol-caused cancer. The campaign focused on the theme that alcohol is carcinogenic; that there are a range of alcohol caused cancers including mouth, throat, pancreas, liver, bowel and breast (in females); and every drink increases a person's risk of developing alcohol caused cancer. 1

The campaign's key message was based on the National Health and Medical Research Council's (NHMRC) guideline for reducing the risk of alcohol-related harm over a lifetime where for healthy men and women, drinking no more than two standard drinks on any day reduces the lifetime risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury. 1

This campaign was developed by the Drug and Alcohol Office (DAO), in partnership with the Cancer Council of Western Australia (CCWA) and the Injury Control Council of Western Australia (ICCWA).

Key message

To stay at low risk of alcohol-caused cancers, have no more than two standard drinks on any day.

Target group

Adults aged 25 to 54-years.

Research shows that this age group don't believe they are susceptible to long-term harm caused by drinking too much over a lifetime, and this campaign aimed to challenge this myth.

Campaign objectives

  • Raise awareness of alcohol-caused health problems such as alcohol-caused cancer.
  • Increase awareness of how to stay at low-risk in accordance with the Australian Guidelines to Reduce Health Risks from Drinking Alcohol.
  • Increase the personal relevance of the alcohol and cancer message among the target group.


Post-campaign evaluation found that:

  • There was high awareness of a link between cancer and alcohol.
  • Approximately seven in ten respondents took out the desired message takeout from the ad, mentioning the link between alcohol and cancer, or making reference to the NHMRC standard drink guidelines.
  • Females were significantly more likely to take out a message relating to alcohol causing cancer.
  • There was an increase in awareness that alcohol can increase the risk of cancer.
  • The campaign was successful at generating concern regarding the general health impacts of alcohol and the link between alcohol and cancer.
  • There was a significant increase in the proportion of respondents who report that they would like to 'slightly' reduce their alcohol intake.
  • The campaign appears to be effectively targeting risky drinkers. Those who generally drink more than the recommended NHMRC guideline of 2 standard drinks per drinking occasion are significantly more likely to.
  • Be concerned about their alcohol consumption.
  • Want to drink slightly less than they do currently.
  • Intend to drink slightly less than they do currently.


Campaign Video 30 second 'Spread' Television Commercial

30 second 'Stains' Television Commercial

Related Information

Alcohol & Your Health

Harmful drinking can occur in the short-term and long-term. NHMRC released guidelines that give advice on minimising health consequences of drinking alcohol.

Alcohol & Long-Term Harm

Regular and ongoing drinking can cause long term damage to organs.

Alcohol and Cancer

Alcohol is a Class 1 carcinogen. The more you drink and the more often you drink, the greater the risk of developing cancer.

What is a Standard Drink?

A standard drink contains 10 grams of alcohol, learn how this relates to beer, wine and spirits.


1 National Health and Medical Research Council 2009, Australian Guidelines to Reduce Health Risks from Drinking Alcohol, Commonwealth of Australia 2009.

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