This little-known change could save lives and reduce Australia’s breast cancer cases

28 Sep 2023

Many Australian women are already protecting themselves from breast cancer risks by proactively checking their breasts and having regular breast screens.

However, few people are aware of the link between alcohol and breast cancer.

Research shows that 1 in 15 breast cancer cases and 1 in 5 breast cancer deaths in Australia are linked to drinking alcohol. Even drinking as little as one restaurant serving of wine a day increases the risk of breast cancer.

The good news is that these cases are preventable.

By cutting back on our drinking and normalising decisions not to drink during social occasions, we can reduce the incidence of breast cancer in Australia. 

With this goal in mind, we are encouraging you to share the benefits of drinking less with the women you care about during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Even small changes can have a large impact on your health

The joint Health4Her project from Turning Point, Monash University and VicHealth supporting women attending a breast screening service to protect themselves from the harms caused by alcohol has shown promising results.

As one study participant said: “You don’t think breast cancer is something that happens because you might drink too much.”

“I moved from three alcohol-free days to five consecutive alcohol-free days. I felt good about that,” said another participant.

The study includes simple advice about how to adjust your drinking to reduce the risk of breast cancer.

Watch this video for some easy strategies to get you started:

As the video outlines, these small changes can make a big difference to your health:

  • Honestly evaluate how much you are drinking: Be aware of what you drink and you’ll be empowered to make your own choices based on the facts.
  • Start with a small goal, and write it down: Pick a small but achievable goal, such as one extra non-drinking day each week, and you’ll give yourself the best chance to succeed. Write it in a calendar or set up a reminder to make sure it sticks.
  • Be proactive about the times you’re more likely to drink: Keep your pantry stocked with your favourite non-alcoholic drinks. Choose mocktails when you go out or swap every second alcoholic drink with a non-alcoholic one.
  • Support your friends and family when they choose to cut back or stop drinking: By supporting the people you care about to stick to their goals, you’ll make it easier for them to protect themselves from the harms caused by alcohol.

During Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October, we can work together to reduce the incidence of breast cancer in Australia.

Share the benefits of drinking less with the women you care about.

Advice for people concerned about their drinking:

More information for sector organisations and researchers: