Reducing your risk of harm from alcohol

To reduce your cancer risk, we recommend you:

  • limit how much alcohol you drink
  • or better still, avoid drinking alcohol altogether. 

If you choose to drink, we recommended you drink within National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) guidelines, which advise:

  • no more than 2 standard drinks a day (for men and women).
  • avoid binge drinking (drinking more than 4 standard drinks on a single occasion)

Find out more about the NHMRC guidelines for alcohol consumption.

What is a standard drink?

A standard drink contains 10 grams of alcohol. All bottles, cans and casks of alcohol sold in Australia are required to state on the label the approximate number of standard drinks they contain. You can use this information to estimate how much alcohol you are drinking.

Different types of alcoholic drinks contain different amounts of alcohol.

One standard alcoholic drink is equal to:

  • One 375ml can or stubbie of mid-strength beer
  • 100ml of wine (13.5% alcohol)
  • 30ml nip of spirits
  • One 250ml can of full strength pre-mix spirits (5% alcohol)

Some things make it difficult to keep track of how many standard drinks you have actually had. Glass sizes vary, people share drinks, glasses may be topped up by other people, or you may not know how much alcohol is in the drink you are having (for example mixed drinks such as cocktails or punch). Pouring your own drinks and avoiding ‘rounds' make it easier to keep track of how much you drink.

Tips to reduce alcohol use

We recommend that people avoid drinking alcohol. But if you choose to drink, we support drinking only within the NHMRC guidelines for alcohol consumption.

Here are some tips for drinking within safe limits:

  • Aim to have at least two alcohol-free days a week
  • Set limits for yourself and sticking to them
  • Start with non-alcoholic drinks and alternating with alcoholic drinks
  • Drink slowly
  • Have drinks with a lower alcohol content
  • Eat before or while you are drinking
  • If you participate in rounds of drinks, trying to include some non-alcohol drinks
  • Water down alcoholic drinks with ice