Shining a light on alcohol and cancer
by Stefanie Hodson, Communications Officer
- July 20, 2021
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We all know that alcohol can affect our mood, disrupt our sleep and make us more likely to reach for unhealthy foods, but what about the other serious health risks?
New research from Cancer Council Victoria has found that most Victorian adults are unaware that drinking alcohol increases the risk of developing many types of cancer.
The study surveyed 1500 Victorians and found that cancer was top-of-mind as a potential health risk for only 19% of respondents.
The truth is, alcohol consumption causes nearly 3,500 Australians to develop cancer each year and there is clear evidence that drinking alcohol increases people’s risk of at least seven different types of cancer, including breast, liver, mouth, throat (pharynx and larynx), oesophagus and bowel cancers.
Alcohol also contains a lot of kilojoules, with no nutritional benefit. Over time, drinking alcohol can contribute to weight gain and obesity, which further increases the risk of other health conditions such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
How much is too much alcohol?
Any amount of alcohol increases your risk of developing cancer, so if you’re going to drink, reducing the amount you drink is the best way to reduce your risk.
New guidelines released last year, recommend that adults have no more than 4 standard drinks on any one day and no more than 10 standard drinks a week to reduce the risk of injury or disease caused by alcohol.
But how much is a standard drink, really?
Different types of alcoholic beverages contain different amounts of alcohol, so the size of a standard drink in each glass of alcohol can vary, depending on the size of the glass and the type of alcohol.
Cancer Council Victoria has developed a standard drink tool to help you understand what a standard drink looks like. The tool also helps you set personal drinking goals and provides tips to help you reduce your alcohol consumption.
It’s not too late to kickstart healthier habits
Taking a break from alcohol or even just reducing how much alcohol you drink can improve your mood, sleep and energy levels and reduce your risk of developing serious health issues including high blood pressure, heart disease, liver disease, stroke and certain cancers.
Why not challenge yourself to give the alcohol-free life a go for a week, a month, or even longer? It's a great way to shake up your habits and make some healthy lifestyle changes.
We've got a lot of resources to help you cut down or ditch the drinks altogether. To get started, check out our helpful tips on avoiding alcohol and try out some of our delicious and refreshing alcohol-free alternative recipes.