World Cancer Day 2017

Drinkaware Supporting World Cancer Day

Each year in Ireland, 900 people are diagnosed with alcohol-related cancers and roughly 500 die as a result. The link between alcohol and cancer is well-established – one in ten of all cancers in men and one in thirty-three in women are caused by alcohol. But did you know that 4 in 10 cancers are preventable? Reducing how much alcohol you drink is just one of the ways you can reduce your risk. This World Cancer Day, why not take some time to think about your drinking habits and see if you can make a change?


Drinking alcohol is known to cause at least seven cancers. Any amount increases the cancer risk. Even just one drink a day will increase the risk of breast, mouth, throat and oesophageal cancers by a small amount. There’s no safe limit for alcohol when it comes to cancer, but the risk is smaller for people who drink within the HSE low-risk alcohol guidelines. It’s simple – the less you drink, the lower the risk.

Latest figures from the National Cancer Registry of Ireland (NCRI) show a 300% rise in liver cancer diagnoses in Ireland in the past two decades. The average number of new cases each year has gone from 60 in the mid-1990s to more than 270 in 2014. The NCRI point to high alcohol consumption in recent decades as one of the biggest reasons for this four-fold increase.


Are you drinking within the HSE low-risk guidelines for alcohol consumption?

  • 11 standard drinks (110g pure alcohol) spread out over the week for women, with at least two alcohol-free days
  • 17 standard drinks (170g pure alcohol) spread out over the week for men, with at least two alcohol-free days

Take our quiz to find out if you are drinking within the low-risk guidelines


Keep any eye on how much you drink on average each week. This will help you to track your alcohol intake and make a change if needed. Our drinks calculator will show you the number of standard drinks, calories and grams of sugar you consumed on any given occasion, as well as an estimate of how much money you spent. This will help to give you an idea of how much you drink on average. Little changes to the way you drink can have a big impact. The next time you drink alcohol, why not try some of our quick tips?

  • If you usually drink pints of beer or cider, why not opt for a bottle or half pint instead?
  • Always finish one glass of wine before pouring another. Topping up your glass makes it hard to track how much you are drinking.
  • Alcohol dehydrates the body. Alternating each drink with water will help keep you hydrated.
  • Swap out your usual full strength drink for a low-alcohol alternative.

Order our health promotion resources to understand your drinking habits

Read more about alcohol and cancer