A longitudinal study reported that consuming alcohol on a regular basis can reduce life expectancy at age forty by six months to five years, depending on consumption habits. One in five Australian’s over the age of fourteen are consuming alcohol at harmful levels, according to research by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

In a recent article by Maz Compton, the social commentator and writer highlighted recent findings by the World Cancer Report: alcohol is a Class One carcinogen for humans, and therefore, is a likely cause of cancer. She writes:

“Up until a few years ago, I would drink alcohol like a fish on the weekend and most likely on a random Tuesday, not thinking it would do anything other than take the edge off a bad or perhaps at worst, give me a hangover. I didn’t realise that it might be seriously contributing to the likelihood of cancer cells developing in my body.”


These findings may be confronting for some people who regularly consume alcohol at levels harmful to their health. Dr Christian Rowan, an Addiction Medicine Specialist at The Banyans Health and Wellness comments that “these kinds of results are becoming more consistent in the research surrounding alcohol. For some people, the health consequences of excessive consumption can be an early trigger for considering their potential alcohol dependency or addiction.”

Maz writes that being aware of these statistics “might mean that you need to reassess your social routine of catching up with the girls over drinks… because it would be better to make the change now than it become catching up with your girlfriends over chemo.”


Although Maz’ observations may sound over-dramatic, she points out that any reduction in alcohol consumption can reduce your risk of chronic illness.


Dr Rowan echoes her sentiments. “Our bodies cannot withstand large amounts of alcohol because it is a toxin. Although low levels are acceptable, research frequently reminds us of the long term risks associated with regular consumption.” These include dementia, liver, gut and heart diseases, increased blood pressure and cancers of the “pharynx, liver, colorectum, and female breast.”

Dr Rowan also points out that psychological indicators of dependency are also significant in addressing one’s relationship with alcohol. He suggests you truthfully ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Do you ever feel guilty or ashamed about your drinking?
  2. Do you ever hide your drinking or lie about how much you drink?
  3. Have you ever had a friend or family member express concern about how much you are drinking?
  4. Do you feel that it is impossible to relax without drinking alcohol?
  5. Do you have memory lapses or black out making it difficult to work out what you did while drinking?
  6. Do you ever have a drink and end up drinking more than you intended?

“If you answer yes to two or more of those questions, it may be worth considering your alcohol consumption more closely, and reach out for help if you are concerned. A medical professional such as your GP is a great place to start,” Dr Rowan advises.

The Banyans Health and Wellness is a residential retreat for people wishing to restore their health and wellness. Whether you are experiencing an alcohol dependency or addiction, or simply wish to recalibrate your wellbeing, The Banyans Health and Wellness offers individually tailored programs to address the whole self. Our highly qualified professionals are available to privately guide you through your recovery and equip you with skills to enact long-lasting change in your every day life.

If a tailored, private program at The Banyans Health and Wellness sounds beneficial for yourself or someone you love, contact +61 1300 BANYAN (1300 226 926) for a non-obligatory discussion, or submit an online enquiry below.

 This article is based on a post by Maz Compton – I’ll have a vodka soda with a twist of cancer, thanks.