Cancer Council Australia

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Drinking any type of alcohol (beer, wine or spirits) increases the risk of developing cancer of the bowel, mouth, pharynx, larynx, oesophagus, liver and breast. The risk is even higher for some of these cancers in smokers who consume alcohol.

There is evidence to suggest that drinking small amounts of certain types of alcohol, such as red wine, can reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Cancer risk, however, increases from the first alcoholic drink you have.

The more alcohol you consume, the greater your risk of developing cancer. If you choose to drink, we recommend you follow the National Health and Medical Research Council guidelines and limit your intake to two standard drinks a day.

See the alcohol and cancer prevention fact sheet for details of standard drinks and other information about sensible alcohol consumption.

Alcohol is high in energy (kilojoules or calories) and can easily contribute to weight gain – being overweight or obese is also associated with a higher cancer risk.

This page was last updated on: Wednesday, April 15, 2015