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Think before you drink this holiday season: Alcohol and cancer risk

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​It’s that time of year again. Holiday parties abound and with them countless tempting treats – both food and drink.
Many people will indulge in alcoholic beverages in the coming weeks; however, some of them may not be aware of the link between drinking alcohol and an increased risk of cancer. Even sustained light drinking can increase your risk of cancer. 

Research featured in the Annals of Oncology shows that light drinking – up to one drink per day – is associated with an increased risk of breast, oral and esophageal cancers. 

How much is too much?

It is important to know your alcohol serving sizes. One drink is much smaller than most people think. A serving of wine is 5 oz (just over half a cup), a serving of 5 per cent beer (which is low for most Canadian beers) is 12 oz or about a cup and a half, and a serving of hard liquor is 1.5 oz, the size of a single shot glass or 3 tbsp.

So what can you do?
 
Drink only if you want to: Don’t want to drink alcohol? Have a drink in your hand that resembles alcohol. It can save you turning down drinks from well-meaning hosts.
  • Don’t feel pressured to drink if you don’t want to
  • Find support in friends who are non-drinkers or light drinkers
  • Volunteer to be the designated driver
Know your limits and stay within them: Alcohol tolerance varies from person to person. Women, light drinkers, and non-drinkers have the least tolerance, and the often-cited “one drink an hour” rule may be too much.
  • Decide ahead how many drinks (if any) you will have
  • Keep to standard serving sizes and avoid “topping up” a half-empty glass
  • Don’t feel you have to “keep up” if someone orders another round
Pace yourself: An easy way to consume alcohol in moderation is to slow down. Sip your drinks, and alternate alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic drinks. Try club soda with lime.
 
Have a healthy plan: Exercise and rest during the holidays. Doing so will keep you balanced in the face of stress and frequent opportunities to drink. 
 
 
SOURCE: Think before you drink this holiday season: Alcohol and cancer risk ( )
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