As the holidays wrap and New Years’ celebrations end, we tend to look inward – setting New Year’s resolutions and intentions. Among many popular goals, one stands as a testament to both personal wellness and cancer risk reduction – Dry January. In recent years, the concept of Dry January has gained considerable traction, representing a communal commitment to remain alcohol free for the month of January. This offers a unique opportunity to reset, rejuvenate, and reevaluate one’s relationship with alcohol.  

Now, why should we consider reducing or eliminating alcohol intake? Below are some key takeaways from our Alcohol + Breast Cancer HER Speaker Series. 

  • Approximately 4% of cancers worldwide are caused by alcohol consumption, with alcohol being considered a moderate risk factor for breast cancer development. 
  • IARC classifies alcohol as a class 1 carcinogen. 
  • World Cancer Research Fund showed 5% increased risk of breast cancer in premenopausal women, 9% increase postmenopausal who had regular alcohol consumption (10g/day). 
  • EPIC Study showed an association between ER+ tumors and alcohol consumption, with other studies indicating an overall increased risk of all breast cancers. 

Be sure to watch the Speaker Series, as well as our original Alcohol + Breast Cancer event to learn more about the research behind the risks involved with alcohol consumption. 

When considering moderation or consumption reduction, non-use is the ultimate goal. That being said, we understand that this may not be a realistic starting point for everyone. Ideally, leaving alcohol to situational or occasional consumption is a best practice. Moderating intake to no more than 1-2 beverages (12 oz. beer, 5 oz. wine, 1.5 oz. spirit) per week is a great place to start for those who consume alcoholic beverages more regularly. 

A common worry among those reducing or eliminating alcohol consumption is the consideration of social engagements, many of which involve alcohol. Here’s the thing – you can enjoy a refreshingly delicious beverage sans alcohol! Mocktails and zero-proof beverages help those choosing to abstain from alcohol enjoy their favorite beverages without the worry. Here at Unite for HER, we’ve partnered with brands like Ritual, Abstinence, CleanCo, TOST, and Best Day Brewing to showcase that zero-proof (meaning zero-alcohol) drinks can be just as delicious. Not feeling like you need a direct substitute for alcohol? Check out our blog for tons of mocktail recipes!  

However you choose to partake in Dry January, know that the team at Unite for HER is here to support. Now let’s raise a glass (of zero-proof champagne, of course) for Dry January, and say cheers to health-forward goals in 2024! 


By: Aubrey Redd, MS, RDN, LDN