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There is a strong connection between alcohol and cancer – in fact, alcohol is responsible for more than 5,000 new cancer cases in Australia each year. It is clear from the evidence that the risk of alcohol-related cancers increases with the amount you drink. 

Alcohol is currently classified as a Group 1 carcinogen, the same classification held by tobacco smoke and asbestos. It damages the cells of the body and increases the risk of alcohol-caused cancer.  

Female doctor talking with patient

Did you know?

Alcohol is linked to cancer in at least seven sites in the body:

  • Mouth
  • Pharynx
  • Layrnx (voice box)
  • Oesophagus
  • Liver
  • Bowel
  • Breast

What are the recommendations on alcohol use?

Research shows there is no safe level of alcohol consumption.  

If you drink alcohol, Australia’s Alcohol Guidelines recommend you have no more than four standard drinks in a day and no more than 10 standard drinks a week. 

One standard drink contains 10 grams of alcohol, which looks different depending on the type of drink and the glass or container it is served in. 

One standard drink equates to a can of mid-strength beer, a 100 ml glass of red wine, or a 30 ml shot of spirits. To learn more about a standard drink, check out the Australian Government’s guide on standard drinks. 

Learn more about Australia’s Alcohol Guidelines. 

What can I do to reduce my risk?

Whether you consider yourself a light drinker or someone who enjoys a big night out, reducing your alcohol use can reduce your risk.  

Making small changes to your drinking patterns can help to not only reduce the risk of developing alcohol-caused cancers, but also deliver significant short- and long-term health improvements. 

Here are some practical tips:

Count your drinks and stay within the Alcohol Guidelines

Keep tabs on how much alcohol you’ve had each time you drink. Australia’s new Alcohol Guidelines recommend no more than four standard drinks in a day and no more than 10 standard drinks a week.

Count your drinks and stay within the Alcohol Guidelines

Keep tabs on how much alcohol you’ve had each time you drink. Australia’s new Alcohol Guidelines recommend no more than four standard drinks in a day and no more than 10 standard drinks a week.

Pencil in alcohol-free days every week

Set aside a few days each week to go without alcohol. Try doing this as well as healthy activities like playing a sport or going for a walk. Once it’s in your calendar, it is easier to stick to it.

Pencil in alcohol-free days every week

Set aside a few days each week to go without alcohol. Try doing this as well as healthy activities like playing a sport or going for a walk. Once it’s in your calendar, it is easier to stick to it.

Consider alternatives with low or no alcohol

There are a wide range of products available with low or no alcohol in them, and they may be helpful alternatives for anyone who wants to cut back.

Consider alternatives with low or no alcohol

There are a wide range of products available with low or no alcohol in them, and they may be helpful alternatives for anyone who wants to cut back.

Break up your drinks with food and non-alcoholic drinks

If you do drink alcohol, reach for a snack or pour yourself a glass of water, soft drink, soda water or juice between alcoholic drinks. This is a great way to reduce your alcohol consumption.

Break up your drinks with food and non-alcoholic drinks

If you do drink alcohol, reach for a snack or pour yourself a glass of water, soft drink, soda water or juice between alcoholic drinks. This is a great way to reduce your alcohol consumption.

Set yourself a new after-work routine

There are many healthy ways to wind down towards the end of the day. Light exercise like a 10-minute walk works wonders. Or why not pursue a new interest or hobby?

Set yourself a new after-work routine

There are many healthy ways to wind down towards the end of the day. Light exercise like a 10-minute walk works wonders. Or why not pursue a new interest or hobby?

You don’t have to make these changes alone

We all need help and support from time-to-time. If you’re a heavy drinker, it can be dangerous to reduce or quit alcohol without speaking to your doctor first.  

Here are some steps you can take: 

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