Did you drink alcohol whilst on chemo?

I really fancy a glass of red wine…

I managed to drink my usual tipple, red wine on most occasions when I wanted to during my chemo except for the first week when everything tasted like vinegar.

I’m in France, so it wouldn’t be unheard of and when I asked my Onc if it was ok he said mai oui, “but yes”, if you fancy it then why not?

Enjoy and don’t feel guilty.

cabernet or pinot noir ?
New World or classic European…?

Go on you know you want to !

Actually I drank very little on chemo (FEC x4/Taxol weekly x 12) especially while on FEC as I didn’t find it palatable, but towards the end of each cycle I must admit to enjoying a glass or two with supper.

My oncologist didn’t say not to, in fact he said a little red wine with its antioxidants wasn’t a bad thing if I felt like it. But you know the effects of alcohol are amplified by chemo, so after very little you will feel you’ve had more, so be careful if driving etc.

Enjoy !

Hi - I was told I could eat and drink what ever I liked - in fact as it turned out I got oral thrush (still have it !!) and couldn’t eat or drink but the nurses all say eat and drink what you like so if you fancy it and you can stomach it go for it ! enjoy xxx

I had the odd glass when I felt like it too, with no ill effects

Hi pennies, Go for it. U know wat they say a little bit of wat u fancy dus u good!!! I don’t feel like wine the first nite of chemo. Usually sick. Maybe not Th next day although last time I did. But other. Than that I hav wine every nite. Sum mite b shocked but it keeps me sane. N I enjoy it I don’t hav enuf t giv me headache ( well sumtimes haha ). But this illness takes so much of us I hate that I hav a little fine wispy hair no eyelashes n eyebrows goin n now overweight. Great !! So I enjoy my wine it’s better than drugs n I’m dealing with it all ok just want it t end. My motto. Watever gives u pleasure. Enjoy xxxxxx


I drank, not in week 1 though, generally towards the end of week 2 and week 3. I’m not a big drinker but the odd glass of red, G&T and cider. Totally went off coke though so didn’t touch my fave havana rum and coke. On the rare occassion I had more than a few, when usually I’d have a hangover, I didn’t get one, was quite surprised. Mind you 3 glasses of wine and I’ll have a hang over normally.

Enjoy, if you feel like it, go for it, in moderation of course.

Em x

I haven’t fancied any alcohol although I have been able to eat/drink everything else I fancied.

I have been told a glass of red wine is good and will help raise blood levels - so this weekend I am going to partake… in moderation of course!

I love my red wine, however, the first week after chemo everything tastes terrible and I find that I neither want nor like it. I do however, keep persevering with it even though it breaks my heart that so many glasses of wine end up down the sink! But once I can happily drink a glass (or maybe more), I know that the SEs of chemo have finally passed and I can have a normal couple of weeks before the next one.

Enjoy the moment!

Sue xx

Strangely, in my chemo group our nurses have said after chemo go home and have a glass of red wine! It will help you unwind…
I do however live in Spain, so this is there first drink!

Although i have to agree I do this and it does help, also when my taste goes they said have a glass of wine before your dinner this will help you to taste the food! This too does help!

Different cultures…


My god I couldn’t even keep water down! But if it can help you get through chemo then why not?

In the longer term however it might help to remember that the link between breast cancer and alcohol has been proven by many studies and the advice from Cancer Research is this…

“Alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer. Even small amounts of alcohol can increase your risk of breast cancer. Several studies have found that every alcohol unit drunk a day increases the risk of breast cancer risk by about 7-11%.
There is unlikely to be a safe level of alcohol which doesn’t increase the risk of breast cancer. Some studies have found that drinking just one unit a day can increase a woman’s chances of developing breast cancer.”

  1. Smith-Warner, S., et al., Alcohol and breast cancer in women: a pooled analysis of cohort studies. JAMA, 1998. 279: p. 535-40. PubMed
  2. Key, J., et al., Meta-analysis of Studies of Alcohol and Breast Cancer with Consideration of the Methodological Issues. Cancer Causes Control, 2006. 17(6): p. 759-770. PubMed
  3. Hamajima, N., et al., Alcohol, tobacco and breast cancer–collaborative reanalysis of individual data from 53 epidemiological studies, including 58,515 women with breast cancer and 95,067 women without the disease. Br J Cancer, 2002. 87(11): p. 1234-45. PubMed
  4. Zhang, S.M., et al., Alcohol consumption and breast cancer risk in the Women’s Health Study. Am J Epidemiol, 2007. 165(6): p. 667-76. PubMed
  5. Longnecker, M., Alcoholic beverage consumption in relation to risk of breast cancer: meta-analysis and review. Cancer Causes Control, 1994. 5: p. 73-82. PubMed

I had 8 epi/cmf chemo. I didnt usually have a glass of wine week 1 of chemo but had a couple of glasses during week 2 and 3 with no ill effects. I did ask at the oncology unit and they said if I fancied a glass of wine have one.

Take care

Carolyn x

I’ve gone off wine a lot. I used to probably down about 3 bottles a week before bc, so I think that was the cause of the cancer for me. Plus the fact that my favourite was rose, but now it just reminds me of epirubicin!

I havent had a drink of alcohol since I was diagnosed. Before that I probably went through 2-3 bottles a week. In my head it is the thing that has given me this disease. My consultant thinks I’m batty and says I would be a lot less stressed if I had a drink and that it was just bad luck( I had a 0.6% chance of getting cancer), but I think it is my way of taking control of something. dx

I asked my onc if it was ok to have a drink … he said “definitely”. But like most other people here i didn’t feel like it at all in the first week. After that I had a drink if I wanted one and it cheered me up! So i say “go for it” if you feel like it.

i still have a drink not a lot but i have liver mets !! i think we beat ourselves up far too much this s***** disease affects people that dont drink , exercise and people who lead an extremely healthy lifestyle, stress now increases heart disease in ladies and it goes on and on the list is endless !!we deserve a break and a drink !!
galen x

And there are people who smoke 50 a day who won’t die of lung cancer. That doesn’t mean that smoking won’t cause lung cancer.
Medical risk doesn’t deal in absolutes.
If you have had cancer and are trying to avoid a recurrence surely it makes sense to be aware of known risk factors?

Alcohol stimulates oestrogen production in adipose tissue. Women who drink regularly have higher levels of circulating oestrogen.
If you are ER+ you want to find ways to decrease oestrogen production - not increase it.

I think it is important that people are fully aware of what the facts are though so they can make up their own minds.
This is not just some media codswallop - all of the major cancer charities advise on alcohol avoidance now - the evidence is there.

I agree you make choices in life.

You could get killed being run over by a car or in a plane crash and you have to weigh up the risks with your own personal choices and values - There is a risk with everything you do and nearly everything you eat!

My aim is to keep my life as ‘normal’ as I possibly can and if that means having a glass of wine at the weekend then so be it… One thing I have learned since diagnosis is that life is too short…

I am having chemo at the moment and having a glass of wine occasionally on week 2 or 3 of the cycles helps me cope. We all take some risk or we would have no life worth living. There is a link with alcohol and Bc but it is also likely that no one factor is the cause.
Don’t beat yourself up about it. Do what feels right for you and enjoy life - in moderation of course.

I was told right at the start that it was O.K to drink alcohol while on chemo, but I usually couldn’t cos I was usually on anti-biotics as well. Also I never really thought about it, but then I don’t drink often anyway - chance would be a fine thing.
I went right off chocolate while on Taxotere as well, & it was my favourite thing before, can have it now but not so fond of it as I was. However I do think, having gone through all this with obviously no guarantees, that life is far too short not to have a vodka or a Mars bar - both together possibly.