Alcohol Consumption and Cancer Risk

Drinking alcohol increases one's risk of cancer. Try some mocktails!



Summary

  • Consuming alcohol can increase your risk of breast cancer.

  • Limiting or avoiding alcohol consumption could reduce risk.

  • Try a mocktail--a non-alcoholic drink meant to replicate a cocktail!

Drinking alcoholic beverages has many cancer-related risks. As it relates to breast cancer, alcohol can raise the estrogen levels in the body. Estrogen is an important hormone that contributes to the growth and development of breast tissue. However, alcohol can change the way a woman’s body metabolizes estrogen causing those levels to rise and increase breast cancer risk. Research shows that drinking alcoholic beverages may be more related to the risk of hormone receptor-positive breast cancer. Alcohol may also increase the risk of breast cancer by damaging cells, leading to changes in the DNA.


Compared to women who don’t drink at all, women who have three alcoholic drinks per week have a 15% higher risk of breast cancer. (breastcancer.org)

Does the type of alcohol matter?


Most evidence suggests that it's the ethanol, a type of alcohol found in alcoholic drinks, that can increase the risk of cancer. It's not the type of alcoholic beverage that can increase people’s risk but the amount of alcohol consumed.



Do I have to quit drinking?


Regularly drinking can harm your health and if you’re trying to reduce your risk of breast cancer, avoiding or limiting alcohol consumption could make a difference. For people who choose to drink alcohol, it is recommended to limit alcohol intake to two or fewer drinks per week. One drink equals 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of hard liquor.


Sometimes drinking can be associated with social events and outings with friends. However, lowering your consumption or completely cutting it out does not mean avoiding social gatherings or no longer going out with friends. There are many other drink options that still taste delicious! One alternative is a mocktail, a drink that uses similar ingredients as a cocktail but without any alcohol. Mocktails are available almost everywhere but can also be made from the comfort of your home. We’ve teamed up with DTRIC Insurance and their Drive Aloha Campaign to provide you with 3 great-tasting mocktail recipes to try out!



Disclaimer: This blog post is for general health information purposes only. Any questions regarding your own health should always be addressed with your own healthcare provider. Talk with your healthcare provider about the risks and health benefits of drinking low or high amounts of alcohol.



Recipes:


Island Poppin’ Lemonade by M.A.C 24/7


½ oz lilikoi puree

1 oz mango puree

2 ½ oz lemonade

1 lemon wedge (⅛ lemon)

2 tbsp lychee popping boba

1 oz soda water


Add purees, lemonade and squeezed lemon wedge to the shaker, fill with ice and shake. Spoon lychee popping boba into the base of a 16 oz pilsner glass. Pour shaker contents into glass. Top with club soda. Garnish with lemon, lychee, and orchid. Serve with boba straw.



Yuzu Makin’ Me Blush by 53 By the Sea


1 ½ oz fresh lime juice

1 ½ ox rose syrup

¾ oz fresh ginger puree

Yuzu soda (Choya non-alcoholic)


In a shaker, muddle mint with lime juice. Add fresh ginger puree, rose syrup and fill with ice. Shake and pour into tall Collins glass. Top with yuzu soda and garnish with mint.



Ginger & Rose Fizz by Manifest


1½ oz no-sugar added Concord grape juice

1 bar spoon rose water

1 bar spoon fresh ginger juice*

1 sweet li hing mui

1½ oz soda water

1 ginger candy


Add grape juice, ginger juice, rose water, and li hing mui to the cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake until chilled (about 15 seconds). Strain inot 5 ½ oz coupe glass and add soda water. Garnish with ginger candy on the pick.


*Fresh ginger juice:

Blend peeled and chopped ginger on high for 2 minutes. Fill a nut milk bag or cheesecloth with chopped ginger and squeeze out the juice. Refrigerate for up to 1 week.



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Jayna Kaopua is the Marketing and Communications intern at Breast Cancer Hawaii. She is an undergraduate student at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Shidler College of Business. Jayna hopes to pursue a career in non-profit marketing in an effort to support our community here in Hawaiʻi.