The association between alcohol and the development of both pre- and postmenopausal cancer has been well described and we know that just one drink a day can increase the risk of developing the disease. However, a question that is often raised by women who have had a breast cancer diagnosis is whether they should limit or avoid alcohol? Conversations often include the views that the damage has already been done and that making lifestyle changes in later years makes no difference to health or breast cancer outcomes.
In the most recent review (2018) by NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Evidence) on early and locally advanced breast cancer, clinicians are advised that patients should be given guidance on limiting alcohol intake to below 5 units per week. This is a new evidence informed message that needs to be widely communicated with appropriate support and guidance on how to help achieve this goal. Additional guidance on body weight, physical activity and smoking are also included. It is becoming increasingly clear that whilst we have been aware of the importance of physical activity in cancer survivorship for some time, much more needs to be done to support women in relation to wider lifestyle areas.
Please join us in supporting the campaign #dontpinkmydrink by making clear that aggressive marketing of alcohol to women is unacceptable.