Drinkaware supports Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Date Published

7th October 2020




Globally, more than two million new cases of breast cancer are reported every year[i]. In the UK, nearly 1,000 women die of breast cancer every month[ii]. It is estimated almost a quarter of cases of breast cancer are preventable, and eight percent of cases of breast cancer are caused by alcohol[iii].

This Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Drinkaware is continuing to encourage women to cut down on how much they drink to help reduce their risk of breast cancer.

Elaine Hindal, chief executive at Drinkaware says: “There is overwhelming evidence on the causal link between drinking alcohol and breast cancer[iv], but studies show public awareness of alcohol as a risk factor is still low.

“Breast cancer has many causes, and some are out of our control. Alcohol is one of the few causes we do have some control over. No matter how much we drink, cutting down will help reduce our risk of breast cancer.

“The reality is, one in 13 cases of breast cancer is caused by drinking alcohol[v]. Hearing this message isn’t always easy though. Breast cancer can be a horribly indiscriminate disease and its cause in many women can come down to different things. Often it’s just awful luck.

“Making healthy lifestyle choices like not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight and getting physical exercise, can all help to reduce a woman’s risk of breast cancer. Cutting back on alcohol – or even cutting it out completely – is a lifestyle choice we can all make that will have many benefits, including reducing our risk of breast cancer.”

Even regularly drinking just one drink a day increases a woman’s risk of breast cancer[vi]. If you do choose to drink alcohol, it is best to drink within the UK Chief Medical Officers’ (CMO) low risk drinking guidelines of no more than 14 units a week. If you do drink as much as this, spread your drinks evenly throughout the week and take at least three drink-free days.

For more information about alcohol and breast cancer, download the Drinkaware fact sheet.

[i] https://www.arcr.niaaa.nih.gov/arcr402/article11.htm

[ii] https://breastcancernow.org/about-us/media/facts-statistics

[iii] https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/health-professional/cancer-statistics/statistics-by-cancer-type/breast-cancer/risk-factors#heading-Ten

[iv] https://www.arcr.niaaa.nih.gov/arcr402/article11.htm

[v] https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/health-professional/cancer-statistics/statistics-by-cancer-type/breast-cancer/risk-factors#heading-Ten

[vi] https://www.bmj.com/content/351/bmj.h4238