Cancer Prevention

There is convincing evidence that alcohol consumption is a cause of cancers of the mouth, pharynx , larynx, esophagus, colorectum (men) and breast (pre and post-menopausal women). Ethanol, the active ingredient in alcoholic drinks is classified as carcinogenic to humans by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Current evidence does not show any safe limit of consumption. Risk increases with amount consumed. (WCRF/IARC report Chapter 4, Section 4.8)

While a key risk factor for cancer, small amounts of alcohol have been found to have a protective effect against ischemic heart disease and diabetes. 
In an effort to communicate a balanced and consistent message to the public, Low Risk Drinking Guidelines were developed in Canada in 2011. The Nova Scotia Cancer Care Program supports these guidelines which include zero consumption as an option. From a cancer risk reduction perspective, advising the public to abstain from alcohol consumption aligns with the evidence that alcohol is carcinogenic. 
Women: 0 to 2 drinks a day, up to 10 drinks a week 
Men: 0 to 3 drinks a day, up to 15 drinks a week
Men and Women: Have non-drinking days per week to avoid dependence 
Related Information: Snapshots are produced by the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer and are designed to synthesize available information and provide Canadian healthcare professionals, including primary care practitioners, with key knowledge about current data, trends and emerging issues in an accessible, concise and easy-to-read format.