By Jade Griffiths
Yes, it is still true. Drinking alcohol is linked to an increased risk of breast cancer. But what does this mean for those of us who like enjoying summer drinks with friends? Well, with this statistic in mind, we came up with five tips for navigating ‘patio season 2019’ alcohol-free.
1. Know how much is too much
Okay, so, we know that having too many drinks can increase your breast cancer risk. But how much alcohol is too much and what’s the definition of a “drink” exactly? Well, according to the Canadian Cancer Society, even low levels of alcohol (as low as one drink a day!) can affect your breast cancer risk and that risk increases the more you drink.
As far as the definition of “a drink” goes, it’s important to know that not all drinks are created equal. One drink is equal to 12 ounces of beer but only equal to five ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of hard liquor. So, the answer to the “how much is too much” question will differ depending on your preference.
2. Find some alternatives
Despite how it might feel in the moment, you actually can order non-alcoholic drinks at a bar or patio and still feel like part of the party. You might just have to do a little research first to find what’s right for you. Don’t believe us? Check out these awesome recommendations from Buzzfeed, Huffington Post, and Spoon University on non-alcoholic drinks you can order at a bar.
For some weird reason, there seems to be a stigma around ordering non-alcoholic drinks at a bar. But let us be the first ones to tell you: putting your health first is never something to feel weird about — period. So, do what’s best for you and don’t apologize for it.
3. Become your own bartender
One of the best ways to learn what you like when it comes to mocktails and other non-alcoholic drinks is to try making them at home first. So, the next time you’re hosting the dinner party, try one of these mocktail recipes to share with your guests.
4. Order confidently
You’re going out with friends and you know you don’t want to drink. But you also want to avoid feeling like you have to explain your choice to those around you (and just so you know, you don’t!) A lot of us have been there, especially if you’re a woman who’s gone through or is going through breast cancer. If this is the case, the conversation around risk changes.
While the jury is still out on complete abstinence on the alcohol front, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) cites that research on the impact that drinking has on cancer patients is still in the early stages. Whether you want to refrain from alcohol altogether or enjoy an alcoholic beverage in moderation, it’s a decision that’s ultimately up to you (and your doctor) to make and feel good about.
5. Surround yourself with the right people
It may feel like “peer pressure” is a phrase from your middle-school days, but the reality is it can be hard to do what’s right for you when those around you are doing the opposite. There’s strength in numbers and that’s why it’s important to surround yourself with people that support you in your life – people that will build you up and not tear you down when it comes to putting your breast health first.
For more information on breast health and more practical steps you can take towards risk reduction, visit our Breast Health page.