Alcohol is a cancer risk

Alcohol is a cancer risk

The link between alcohol consumption and increased cancer risk is firmly established. Drinking alcohol increases your risk of developing several types of cancer, including cancer of the breast, colon and rectum, esophagus, larynx, liver, mouth and pharynx.

review of past studies on the link between alcohol and cancer, published Tuesday in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, determined approximately 3.5 percent of all cancer deaths in the U.S. can be attributed to alcohol consumption. Researchers also said that in 2012, approximately 5.5 percent of all new cancer occurrences and 5.8 percent of cancer deaths globally could be attributed to drinking alcohol.

The less alcohol you drink, the more you reduce your risk. In fact, If a drinker stops consuming alcohol for 20 years or more, their risk of cancer reverts back to that of non-drinkers, according to the researchers’ analysis.

Although heavy, long-term, drinkers are at greatest risks of developing cancer, even modest alcohol consumption may increase cancer risk. If you choose to drink alcohol, keep it to less than 1 drink a day for women and less than 2 drinks a day for men… less is better.

A drink is:

  • one 341 mL (12 oz) bottle of beer (5% alcohol)
  • one 142 mL  (5 oz) glass of wine (12% alcohol)
  • one 43 mL  (1.5 oz) shot of spirits (40% alcohol)
Just as we can eat properly and exercise regularly to reduce our risk for many diseases, reducing or stopping consumption of alcohol is a lifestyle choice we can make to reduce risk, prevent disease, and age well. Next time you’re tempted with a glass of beer or wine, try enjoying a tall glass of sparkling water with a splash of cranberry juice or squeeze of lemon. Cheers!

A marketing communications professional with over 25 years of experience and a fitness instructor/trainer of three decades, Catherine has inspired thousands of Canadians to lead active, healthy lives. Catherine lives in Toronto and has two daughters, ages 21 and 18. Visit Catherine's website