Know the links between alcohol and cancer

The theme of European Action on Alcohol Awareness Week is ‘Alcohol and Cancer’

Written by Hannah Byrne


The focus of this year’s European Action on Alcohol Awareness Week is ‘Alcohol and Cancer’.

The aim of the campaign is to highlight the link between drinking alcohol, particularly at a younger age, and the risk of developing cancer later in life.

The facts on alcohol and cancer

  • Approximately 900 people in Ireland are diagnosed with alcohol related cancer every year.
  • Alcohol can cause 7 types of cancer including mouth, pharynx, larynx, oesophagus, breast, liver and colorectal (colon) cancer.
  • Drinking in your teens and 20’s can increase your risk of developing cancer later in life.
  • For women in their teens and 20’s, drinking regularly can increase the risk of developing breast cancer by 34%.
  • 1 in 8 breast cancers are caused by alcohol.
  • For Irish men, alcohol is one of the biggest risk factors in mouth, head and neck cancers.
  • Those who drink more than two or more standard drinks per day are three times more likely to develop mouth, head and neck cancers, compared with those who don’t drink.
  • Over half mouth, head and neck cancers diagnosed in Ireland can be associated with alcohol.

Our campaign, ‘Alcohol & You’ encourages you to consider your relationship with alcohol and how it makes you feel. You can find a range of information on alcohol here, as well as social alternatives so that your weekend doesn’t have to be filled with drinking.

For more information, visit

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