Yes. Besides cancer, drinking alcohol can cause various other diseases, such as liver cirrhosis or pancreatitis. Alcohol is harmful in terms of cancer risk at any level of intake. International guidelines have set maximum recommended limits for intake of alcohol: about one standard drink per day for women and two standard drinks per day for men. Drinking alcohol in amounts above these recommended limits can damage almost every organ and system in the body.

Drinking alcohol in amounts above the recommended limits may lead to, among others: stroke and heart failure; mental and behavioural disorders, including depression, violence, and memory loss; mental illness; leukaemia in children of mothers who drink during pregnancy; and alcoholic liver disease. The more alcohol you drink, the greater the risk. Also, drinking alcohol is dangerous when driving a vehicle or doing leisure and/or occupational activities that require a high level of attention. It should be avoided during pregnancy and breastfeeding, and it may also be harmful when taking certain medications.

Alcoholic drinks are also often high in calories, and reducing your consumption or – even better – avoiding alcohol completely will also help you to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, and in turn help to further reduce your cancer risk. You can use an “alcohol calorie calculator” to see how many calories are in different alcoholic drinks.