Recent research by Dr Anna Boltong, Head of Strategy and Support Division, shows that the equivalent of 60ml of wine a day could be enough to increase the risk of breast cancer recurrence. These findings present an opportunity to provide specific information to people following a cancer diagnosis and may assist clinicians who have a role in providing healthy lifestyle messages to cancer patients.
Whilst these findings are based on a small number of studies, it aligns with the recent World Cancer Research Fund International/American Institute for Cancer Research Report (2017) that found strong evidence that drinking the equivalent of a small glass of wine or beer a day (about 10 grams alcohol content) increases pre-menopausal breast cancer risk by 5% and post-menopausal breast cancer risk by 9%.
These findings represent an opportunity to improve public health messaging for cancer patients. The Australian public health guideline for alcohol consumption, which is currently under revision, places an upper limit of two standard drinks (20g of alcohol) per day for healthy men and women to reduce their risk of alcohol-related disease and injury. There are no references made for people who have previously been diagnosed with cancer.