Cutting back on alcohol is a common resolution for many people. According to BC Cancer experts, this challenging change is worth the effort.
Researchers in Canada have shown statistics that this pandemic has impacted the risk of cancer diagnosis for Canadians. There were over 7,000 new cases of cancer, linked to alcohol use, in 2020.
Of those new cases, almost a quarter were breast cancer, 20 per cent were colon and the rest liver, oral and rectal cancers.
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health indicated that as alcohol use has increased during the pandemic, temporary life stressors may have initiated this new routine of drinking, but there is potential for these new habits to become more permanent.
With the new year in full swing, the risk of increased alcohol consumption becoming a habit is why now is a good time to reduce the risk. Remember though, with cancer risk, there is no safe level.
Once touted as good for heart health, research has since shown that a daily glass of red wine is associated with a six per cent higher risk for developing female breast cancer.
In the past, heavy drinking or binge drinking was seen as the riskier activity, new evidence indicates that a drink or two a day may be just as hard on your health. New research is showing that one out of seven of all of the new cancers in 2020, were caused by light to moderate alcohol consumption. Worldwide, 100,000 new cancer cases were diagnosed last year for people who only drink two drinks daily.
The benefits of not drinking alcohol include sleeping better, having more energy throughout the day, better weight management and saving money.
Small daily self-care changes can overcome the habit of reaching for that happy hour drink:
- Becoming mindful of reasons for not drinking help to change these activities.
- Using alternatives to alcoholic drinks, such as ‘near beer’, spritzers and mocktails can substitute for the habit of having a drink at the end of the day.
- Taking a walk, having a bath, reading a book, doing yoga or watching a movie are all activities that can substitute the detrimental long-term effects of habitual drinking.
Tell your friends about your plan to limit drinking and the reasons why. They might not know that alcohol consumption is linked to cancer!
Re-thinking that drink can be one positive change that contributes to your overall long-term health and lifestyle.
- For information on treatment options and resources throughout B.C., call the Alcohol and Drug Information Referral Service at 1-800-663-1441. In Greater Vancouver, call 604-660-9382.
- To better understand how substances play a role in your life, visit the You and Substance Use Workbook on the Here to Help website. This website also features detailed information on substance use and mental health.
- To learn more about how to limit your alcohol intake visit: Reduce Your Risk page.