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Reduce Your Risk

Many people don't know that drinking alcohol can raise their risk of getting cancer.

The more you drink, the higher your risk.
What can I do?
It is the amount of alcohol someone drinks over time, not the type of alcoholic beverage, that is the most important factor for cancer risk.

  • For cancer prevention, it's best to stop drinking alcohol.
  • No type of alcohol is safer than others. So, if you choose to drink alcohol, do your best to limit all types of alcoholic drinks: beer, wine, spirits (liquors), other alcoholic drinks, as well as other alcohol sources.
  • If you choose to drink, keep it to less than 1 drink a day for women and less than 2 drinks a day for men.


The more you drink, the higher your cancer risk. Here are some tips on how to reduce the amount of alcohol that you drink:

  • Kick back and relax with a drink that is not alcoholic.
  • Alternate between alcoholic and non-­alcoholic drinks.
  • Set a cut-off time for when you will stop drinking.
  • Have mocktails as an alternative.
  • Water is best.
You can enjoy many activities, and feel better about your health and the health of your loved ones, without needing to drink alcohol, or at least while limiting your alcohol intake.

Try some of these ideas:

  • When having a BBQ, offer alcohol-free drinks and keep a jug of water on the table.
  • Have a "virgin" or alcohol-free drink with dinner or dancing.
  • Many restaurants have "craft" alcohol-free drinks as a delicious option for something more fun than just soda or juice.
  • Tell your friends about your plan to limit drinking and the reasons why. They might not know that alcohol consumption is linked to cancer!
If you or someone you care about need help to reduce alcohol use, please check our Alcohol in BC information and our Resources page.
Alcohol in BC

What to do if you or someone you know wants to explore change

For information on treatment options and resources throughout BC, call the Alcohol and Drug Information Referral Service at 1-800-663-1441. In Greater Vancouver, call 604-660-9382.

If you prefer, you can email HeretoHelp by using their contact us form. One of their information referral experts will answer your questions and 
help you find resources, services, programs, or other supports in BC. HeretoHelp is a resource based in BC, supporting people from, living in, or connected to someone living in British Columbia.

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.

For further resources and help, please visit our Resources page.

More health benefits
When you drink less alcohol to reduce your risk for cancer, you win other health benefits too.

Heavy drinking in the long term and short term can cause other serious health and safety problems. Your risks of these are reduced when you stop or limit your alcohol use:

  • Liver damage or failure
  • Brain damage
  • Pancreas damage
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Irregular heart beat
  • Stroke
  • Seizures
  • Alcohol poisoning
  • Increased risk of injuries associated with motor vehicle crashes
  • Increased risk of injuries associated with abusive or violent behaviour
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SOURCE: Reduce Your Risk ( )
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