Lifestyle, alcohol and breast cancer risk

PUBLISHED ON: 23 May 2017

A new study by the World Cancer Research Fund and American Institute for Cancer Research strongly suggests that leading a healthy lifestyle can help lower your risk of breast cancer.

image of wine glasses

The study found convincing evidence that a healthy diet, exercise, limiting alcohol intake and maintaining a healthy weight all reduce the risk of breast cancer.

One of the widely-reported findings from the study is that drinking around one small glass of wine or a small beer a day increases the risk of developing breast cancer.

These findings reinforce that choosing to live a healthy lifestyle can help lower breast cancer risk. However, the lifestyle we lead is only one part of the bigger picture. Drinking less alcohol (or cutting it out completely) does not mean you will not get breast cancer. The most significant risk factors for developing breast cancer remain being a woman and getting older.

However, we know that leading a healthy lifestyle is important, and making small changes to your diet, physical activity and alcohol consumption has many health benefits.

It's also important to be breast aware, and report any changes to your GP. Carolyn Rogers, Clinical Nurse Specialist at Breast Cancer Care, said: 'It is vital women and men get to know the signs and symptoms of breast cancer – knowing these can lead to an earlier diagnosis, which in turn may save lives.'

If you have any questions about the issues raised in the report, contact our Helpline on 0808 800 6000.

You can find more information about breast cancer risk on our information and support pages.