of cancer cases are attributable to drinking.


cancer cases were linked to alcohol use in the last 12 months.


increase in risk of certain cancers due to alcohol consumption.

Consuming even small amounts of alcohol can negatively impact your risk of developing cancer. Many of us enjoy a night out for a drink but it’s important to realize that this does take its toll on our bodies. Drinking in moderation is particularly important in lowering your risk profile for cancer.

Studies have shown that consumption of alcohol increases the risk of mouth, throat, oesophagal, stomach, bowel, and colon cancer – pretty much anything related to digestion – as well as liver and breast cancer by as much as 600%.

Globally, estimates suggest that 5.5% of cancer cases and 5.8% of cancer-related deaths are attributable to alcohol drinking

– Xie et al., 2002


What is ‘too much’ when it comes to alcohol?


Well, unfortunately when it comes to cancer risks, any amount of alcohol will increase your likelihood of cancer, however, the more you consume the greater the risk. Stomach cancer for example is four times more likely to occur in people who regularly consume four or more units of alcohol each day.


As a healthy adult, you should look to restrict alcohol consumption to less than 10 standard drinks a week, and no more than 3 on any given day. However, if you’re not particularly healthy already feeling the effects of overconsumption throughout the years, it’s advised that you try quitting alcohol altogether. 


No cheating on units. Yes, we know what you’re thinking! We’ve all seen the memes of ‘only one glass of wine’ while the person holds a giant 2ℓ glass in their hand, so you’ll really need to take this seriously if you plan on preventing cancer and remaining healthy.


A standard drink consists of roughly 10-grams of alcohol, which, to put in layman’s terms, equates to about:


  • 100ml of wine which is roughly half a glass
  • One single shot of spirits. ‘One tequila … two…’ (nope sorry, only one)
  • 285ml of normal strength beer. Normal strength being between 4-5% alcohol content.
  • 450ml of light beer (remember ‘lite’ refers to calories, while ‘light’ refers to lower alcohol content)
  • 250ml of ready to drink alcohol mix and soda
  • 200ml of cider


*The above is a guide, please read the alcohol volumes on each unit you purchase


‘I’ve heard red wine and whiskey is good for my heart!’


There is some evidence to suggest resveratrol and polyphenols, which are found in red wine and whiskey respectively, may be beneficial to your health when drinking in moderation. However, studies are inconclusive, and when it comes to cancer risks, there are healthier food alternatives from which to get these beneficial substances – like fruit and vegetables!


‘Well, I’d rather live while I’m alive’


There are some people who say they would rather sacrifice some health benefits to live a fuller life, but being healthier really does aid in living a more active and adventurous lifestyle.

Tips to reduce your cancer risk


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