1 in 13 breast cancers due to alcohol Image: Open Government Licence v3.0

Women encouraged to have more drink free days to reduce their risk of developing breast cancer

This Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and as part of their Drink free days campaign, Drinkaware and Public Health England (PHE) are encouraging women of all ages to cut down on how much they are drinking.

By taking more drink free days women could reduce their risk of developing breast cancer and a range of other health conditions including liver and heart disease.

Every year over 55,100 people in the UK are diagnosed with breast cancer, with alcohol causing 1 in 13 cases. Alcohol increases the level of oestrogen in the bloodstream and long-term exposure to oestrogens increases the risk of developing breast cancer.

The risks of developing a range of health problems, including breast cancer, increase the more you drink on a regular basis.

Drinkaware chief executive, Elaine Hindal said:

“Alcohol causes one in 13 breast cancers which is why it’s so important women are aware of the risks from drinking. If you do regularly drink, having more drink free days a week is a good tactic for cutting down and reducing the risks.”

No more than 14 units a week

The UK Chief Medical Officers advise that it is safest for men and women not to drink more than 14 units a week. A good way to help achieve this is to have several drink free days each week.

Public Health England director of Drugs, Alcohol, Tobacco and Justice, Rosanna O’Connor, said:

“While the link with liver disease is well known, many people are not aware that alcohol can cause breast cancer as well as numerous other serious health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease and several other cancers.”

Online tools available to help to cut down on alcohol

Television presenter Kate Garraway and Drinkaware Medical Adviser Dr Sarah Jarvis are supporting the Drink Free Days campaign.

Dr Sarah Jarvis said:

“We all need to be talking more openly and candidly about the risks from alcohol on women’s health, in particular breast cancer.

“Tell your Mum, your daughter, your sister, your wife and your best friend about alcohol and breast cancer.

“Tell them that the more alcohol they drink the greater the risk.”

The Drink Free Days campaign has a wide range of online tools and resources available.