Alcohol & Breast Cancer Reacurrance


I was diagnosed in January with Lobular NST carcinoma in my left breast.

Sadly after my Lumpectomy and SLNB in February more camcer was found. Mucinous carcinoma and multiple DCIS.

I had a double mastectomy 2 weeks ago and if all goes smoothly this time round I will not require Rads or Chemo just Tamoxifen. Fingers crossed :crossed_fingers:

My friends are taking me away soon for the weekend and I would really like to drink some red wine. I’ve not drank anything since xmas and just want to enjoy myself I used to drink red wine its my favourite. But I’m petrified its going to cause me to get distance reacurrance.

Basically I think my question is will the odd night having some wine cause this. I’m not planning on going mad and will not be drinking daily or even regularly.

Just so confused about it all plus I’ve been so miserable and could do with having a normal weekend :weary:


I’m in the same boat - I don’t normally drink but I’m also going away with my partner and another couple for my birthday and I’m not going to go mad but I’m going to have a few . It’s only a short trip like yours I doubt a couple of days will make much difference so long as I stop when I come back. It’s hard to find a balance sometimes . Xx


Alcohol is not good but socialising and being with your friends is very good. So it’s a balancing act of pros and cons
. Try not to feel guilty or anxious whatever decision you take. I found out that I’m ok with a non
alcoholic drink and I still have fun.


I’m not an expert but I do know you have to live the life that gives you the most pleasure! Lots of people don’t drink alcohol and get cancer - I had no risk factors for cancer yet here I am!

You need to find a balance in life that you’re comfortable with. Personally when my treatment is over I’ll be celebrating with alcohol. Not loads but enough to get that lovely happy socialising feeling. I’ll also be continuing drinking alcohol when the situation requires it - again, not much but enough to have fun.

At the end of day we can’t really say why each individual person gets cancer or why, if at all, it comes back - so find your balance in life that’s you’re ok with. But bloody live life … this makes you realise whatever makes you laugh and enjoy living is definitely worth it! Have fun xx


Hi Kat-Jack
Since my mastectomy cancer treatment I have had the odd glass of wine , went to a wedding and had a few cocktails at the end of the day your not drinking all the time , I did ask surgeon he said the same odd glass here and there is fine so enjoy xx

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Hello @kat-jack

As already been said it’s all about finding a balance: absolutely go away and have fun with your friends, drink as much as red wine as you want it really isn’t going to make any difference in the long term on the risks of recurrence.

You will no doubt read advice about preventing recurrence and there are absolutely no guarantees (but there are very few in life) all you can do is take steps to reduce your risk: exercise, a healthy balanced diet (which means eat the cake when offered just not exclusively!) and reduce alcohol intake: enjoy it from time to time but a bottle every night isn’t good for anyone.

Personally I feel that stressing and obsessing raises cortisol levels again another risk factor.

I really hope you have fun, you have moments when it doesn’t necessarily feel like fun, but that is OK too :kissing_heart:

AM xxx

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I do not believe that the odd glass of wine is going bring my cancer back. At the age of 72, I just want to live life to the full and carry on as normally as possible. I know lots of women who drink much more than me and have never had breast cancer. I am much more careful now and frequently drink alcohol free beers but I do not intend to abandon drinking a glass of white or rose completely. It is one of my pleasures in life and I am happy to take the risk. Ever since I first had breast cancer 26+ years ago, I have always made an effort to keep fit, but that did not stop cancer returning 17 months ago. So it is all just bad luck! Keeping fit with exercise and a good diet is probably more important. There is now point trying to live to 90 or 100 if you can’t indulge in things that give you pleasure. Everybody has to weigh up the pros and cons and go with what suits them best.


At the time of my primary diagnosis I rarely drank as I was on my own with 3 children 5-13. I drank even less between then and 12 years later when I got my Secondary diagnosis. Now 6 years later when discussing my lack of appetite with a Doctor from my local hospice (supporting me with pain) he advised alcohol half hour before a meal.
Life is too short to make it too restrictive. Be sensible but enjoy life.

Hello kat-jack

Thank you for your post.

It is good to hear that following your breast cancer diagnosis and recent surgery your friends are taking you away for a weekend. It is natural to worry about recurrence after breast cancer treatment and that you want to help yourself reduce your risk in the future.

Following a diagnosis of breast cancer, we are often asked about alcohol and whether drinking can increase the risk of recurrence. You are not alone in thinking about this as @JoanneN says she too is going away for a birthday celebration.

There is evidence from the World Research Fund which recommends that women who have had breast cancer follow lifestyle and dietary advise to reduce their risk and this includes alcohol.

Studies have shown drinking alcohol increases the risk of getting breast cancer. It’s less clear if drinking alcohol affects the prognosis (outlook) of breast cancer.

NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) recommends people who’ve had breast cancer limit their alcohol intake to below 5 units a week.

You can find out how many units are in your drinks by using an online unit calculator. As a general guide:

• Half a pint of average-strength (4%) beer = 1 unit

• A 175ml glass of wine (12.5%) = 2 units

• A single 25ml measure of spirits (40%) = 1 unit

Hopefully the above information will be helpful, and you will be able to have a relaxing weekend with your friends.

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Best wishes


Breast Care Nurse

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