Research shows that drinking alcohol could increase your risk of cancer. The more you drink, the greater the risk.

The “Now You Know” campaign, which can be found on Skytrain, bus shelters, social media and in restaurants, involves a series of four key messages:

  • Alcohol can cause cancer
  • Have more alcohol-free days
  • Choose non-alcoholic drinks
  • One less drink/ Refusing a drink

According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the more alcohol people consume between the ages of 20 and 50, the higher their risk of developing many cancers in their 50s.

  • Drinking any amount of alcohol increases the risk of cancers of the mouth, pharynx and larynx (neck), esophagus and breast (pre and post menopause)
  • Two or more drinks a day (about 30 grams or more of alcohol per day) increases the risk of bowel and colon cancer
  • Three or more drinks a day (about 45 grams or more of alcohol per day) increases the risk of stomach and liver cancers

The UK’s low-risk drinking guidelines consider the risk of cancer, as well as other long terms risks from alcohol consumption. The recommended guidelines for both men and women to reduce alcohol-related disease risk are:

  • No more than six standard drinks a week
  • No more than two standard drinks per day

These guidelines are based on the following standard drink measures, which are slightly smaller than Canadian standard drinks:

  • One 284 ml (9.6 oz) glass of 4.5% alcohol beer.
  • One 35.5 ml (1.2 oz) shot of 40% hard liquor (vodka, rum, whisky, gin etc.).
  • One 100 ml (3.4 oz) glass of 12.5% wine.

The Canadian Population Attributable Risk of Cancer (ComPARe) study estimated that 450 British Columbia cancer cases were attributable to alcohol consumption in 2015.

Please refer your patients to tools and resources available on our website including online quizzes to see how much you drink, calculating alcohol units consumed, tips on how to reduce your drinking and have more alcohol-free days and how to get help if you or your loved one has a substance use problem

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