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1 DRINK LESS ALCOHOL CUT YOUR CANCER RISK cruk.org

2 There is no doubt that drinking alcohol increases the risk of cancer. Alcohol is linked to around 12,800 cancers in the UK each year and can cause 7 different types of cancer. The less alcohol you drink, the lower the risk of cancer. In this leaflet you can find out: what we know about the link between alcohol and cancer how you could cut back on alcohol how many units of alcohol are in your drink.

3 There are lots of easy ways to start cutting down the amount of alcohol you drink. You could try: Making certain days of the week alcohol-free. Mondays and Tuesdays could be a good place to start. On a night out, start with a soft drink then swap every other drink for a soft drink too. Instead of keeping a few bottles or cans at home, try only buying alcohol when you plan to drink it. Try smaller servings, or a less alcoholic drink you could choose a lower strength or smaller glass of wine or make your beer a half or a shandy. If you drink at home, use smaller glasses and don t keep topping up your drink. Decide how many drinks you ll have before you start drinking and stick to it. Talk to a friend about your plan to cut down, they can support you and might want to join in themselves. For more tips and advice on drinking less alcohol, visit or

4 There is no SAFE drinking level If you drink, try to stick within the government guidelines No more than 1 drink (2-3 units) a day for women No more than 2 drinks (3-4 units) a day for men It s easy to drink more alcohol than you realise look out for the strength of drinks and how big the serving size is. Try tracking how much you drink for a week, there are lots of online tools and apps available to help, and you might be surprised. You can find out more about the number of units in your drink overleaf.

5 Alcohol and cancer - the facts All alcoholic drinks beer, wine and spirits increase the risk of cancer. No type of alcohol is any better or worse than another. The risk is increased the more you drink, no matter whether you tend to spread your drinking out across the week, or drink a larger amount on a few days. Regular light drinking increases the risk of breast, mouth, throat and food pipe (oesophageal) cancers. And heavier drinking increases the risk of these and other cancers even more. Alcohol causes damage to cells in many parts of the body, including the mouth, throat, food pipe and liver. In the body alcohol is changed into a chemical called acetaldehyde that also causes cancer. Alcohol changes your levels of some hormones, including oestrogen. This may be why alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer, which can be linked to high oestrogen levels. Research has found that people who both smoke and drink increase the risk of cancer even further than only smoking or only drinking. This is because alcohol makes it easier for the body to absorb the harmful chemicals in tobacco smoke.

6 How many units are in your drinks? Units tell us how much alcohol is in a drink. One unit is 10ml or 8g of pure alcohol. The number of units in a drink depends on both how alcoholic the drink is and the size of the serving. Below you can find out how many units there are in some common drinks. 2 units A pint of ordinary strength (3 4%) lager, cider or bitter 3 units A pint of premium strength (5 5.5%) lager, cider or extra strength bitter 9.5 units 1 bottle of wine (12.5%) 3 units A large 250 ml glass of wine (12.5%) 2 units A 175 ml glass of wine (12.5%) Just under 3 units A large double (2 x 35 ml) measure of spirits (40%) 1 unit A small single (25 ml) measure of spirits (40%) with or without a mixer Just under 1.5 units A 275 ml bottle of alcopop (5%)

7 The more you cut down on alcohol, the more you reduce the risk of cancer Alcohol can affect your risk of these cancer types: Mouth and upper throat Larynx Food pipe Breast Liver Bowel

8 Further information You can find out more about cancer at Find out more about our health messages at If you want to talk in confidence about cancer, call our information nurses on freephone , Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. All our leaflets are thoroughly researched and based on the most up-to-date scientific evidence. They are reviewed by independent experts and updated regularly. You can order our full range of leaflets free online at About Cancer Research UK We pioneer life-saving research to bring forward the day when all cancers are cured. From our volunteers and supporters to our scientists, doctors and nurses, we re all here to save more lives and prevent, control and cure all cancers. Together we will beat cancer sooner. If you want to join the fight, call or visit our website Ref: RTR1000A March 2015 Due for review by: March 2017 Registered Charity in England and Wales ( ), Scotland (SC041666) and the Isle of Man (1103)

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