Rethink your Drinking

As you toasted in the New Year, what was in your glass matters. When it comes to alcohol, the more a person drinks, the higher the risk of cancer. Drinking less can lower your risk of colorectal, breast and liver cancers as well as head and neck cancers. In 2010, Cancer Care Ontario estimated alcohol caused 3,000 cases of cancer in Ontario.

The link between alcohol and cancer is important as research shows that only one-third of Canadians are aware that they can lower their risk of cancer by reducing how much alcohol they drink. As the majority of Ontario adults drink alcohol, it’s important to know that there is no “safe” amount of alcohol in relation to a person’s risk for cancer. What we do know is that the less alcohol you drink, the more you reduce your risk.

“We want adults to rethink their drinking and gradually decrease the amount of alcohol that they drink to reduce their cancer risk and support healthy lifestyles,” said Jason Weppler, Health Promoter, with the Grey Bruce Health Unit in a Jan. 5 press release.

“This is especially important for those who have a strong family history of cancer.”

For those looking to reduce their cancer risk, the Canadian Cancer Society recommends limiting alcohol to less than one drink a day for women and less than two drinks a day for men. Women are more vulnerable to the health effects of alcohol even when drinking small amounts. For women, alcohol increases the production of estrogen leading to a higher chance of breast cell mutation and a higher risk of developing breast cancer.

“The idea of this campaign is to rethink your drinking and set small reasonable goals for yourself. If you are a regular drinker, aim for having a few alcohol-free days each week. Take it one day at a time with the overall goal of drinking less to reduce your cancer risk” Weppler said.

“Rethink Your Drinking” is a regional campaign to help change the way we think about and use alcohol. To learn more, visit

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