Reducing harm caused by alcohol


One drink a day can increase breast cancer risk

Drinking just one alcoholic drink a day can increase breast cancer risk, a new report by World Cancer Research Fund has revealed.

The report found strong evidence that drinking just the equivalent of a small glass of wine or half a pint of beer a day (about 10g alcohol content), could increase your pre-menopausal breast cancer risk by 5% and your post-menopausal breast cancer risk by 9%.

World Cancer Research Fund estimates that about 12,000 cases of breast cancer could be prevented in the UK each year if nobody drank alcohol. 

Dr Rachel Thompson, Head of Research Interpretation at World Cancer Research Fund, said:

“To help prevent breast cancer, one of the most important steps women can take is to not drink alcohol or reduce the amount of alcohol they drink.

“Maintaining a healthy weight and getting enough exercise are also important for preventing breast cancer.

“It may be the most common cancer in women worldwide, but our evidence shows that there are steps that women can take to significantly reduce their breast cancer risk."

Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, Chair of the Alcohol Health Alliance UK (AHA) said:

“Only 1 in 10 people are aware of the link between alcohol and cancer, and with the evidence on breast cancer and alcohol being so strong, it is vital that consumers are aware of this fact.
“People have a right to know about the risks associated with alcohol, which is why the AHA is calling for specific health warnings on alcohol labels and sustained, government-backed campaigns warning people of the risks. In addition, policymakers should take action to reduce the overall amount of alcohol people drink, which would reduce the burden of breast cancer in the UK. Price-based measures, such as minimum unit pricing, would be the most effective at doing this.”