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Drinking Alcohol while having Chemo Treatment

Posts: 665
Joined: Apr 2010

I was hoping someone here could answer a question for me please! My sister is just starting trreatment for cancer of the uterus & had her first carboplatin treatment a couple of week's ago! I am seriously concerned about it & worry that it may effect how well she does with her treatment! If I say something to her she get's angry with me! Just hoping for some input! I am almost three year's out of treatment for head & neck cancer & do not drink or smoke! Thank you for your input & I wish you all my best through your journey!


jazzy1's picture
Posts: 1385
Joined: Mar 2010

Sorry to read you and your sister have both been affected by cancer.  I'm definitely NO expert, but do not think I'd drink during chemo.  When you say DRINKING ALCOHOL, what type of beverage?  Knowing red wine has some good benefits, but like any alcohol, must be consumed in moderation.

I'd definitely speak with the doctor, especially after reading below information from the internet.

Best to you both~



Like most aspects of chemotherapy, it is really best to check with your doctor about whether or not it is safe for you to drink alcohol during chemotherapy treatment. Most chemotherapy drugs are not affected by alcohol consumption, but there are some chemotherapy drugs that can cause adverse reactions or reduce the effectiveness if alcohol is consumed. One such example is procarbazine.

While most chemotherapy drugs are not affected by alcohol use, many other medications prescribed along with chemotherapy should not be taken with alcohol. Medications such as pain killers, sleep aids, and anti-nausea medications may interact with alcohol, causing adverse reactions.

The dehydrating effects of alcohol may also be a concern if you are undergoing chemotherapy, as you already have a heightened risk of dehydration because of your treatment. Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are common side effects of chemotherapy, and are also direct causes of dehydration. Add alcohol into the mix, and the dehydration effect is worsened.

How alcohol affects the liver is also something to take into consideration. The liver processes all of the toxins in our body, including chemotherapy. Alcohol can interfere with the liver's ability to effectively metabolize such toxins. Your doctor may recommend that you avoid alcohol altogether, especially if you already suffer from liver damage or are undergoing treatment of cancers affecting the liver.

Posts: 665
Joined: Apr 2010

Jan I very much appreciate you taking the time to post tis article for me! I shall forward it on to my sister! Thank you & God Bless you all!!!


Posts: 471
Joined: Feb 2011

I never drank during chemo until my chemo nurse, as I neared the end of treatment, told me that "a glass, even two, of wine won't hurt you."


Well, she was misinformed!  It won't hurt you only under the following circumstances:


That you are well hydrated, with enough water;

That you are drinking wine, preferably red, and only one glass;

That you are drinking WITH a meal; alone, alchol will raise your blood sugar much too quickly, bad for cancer patients

That your blood PLATELETS are not extremely low; if they are, you endanger yourself by further thinning them with alcohol.








NoTimeForCancer's picture
Posts: 2915
Joined: Mar 2013

My chemo nurse told me not to drink but said "I know you are going to have a wine or something and that is ok".  But your concern sounds like it is more than a glass of wine.  If you are employed, often company insurance plans are offering Employee Assistance Program (EAP) as an add on, and it would be someone you could call and talk to about how to approach her.  If you have any opporutnity to talk to a trained couselor who can offer suggestions, that would a resource. 

I had a wine or so during my chemos, I had it with my friends so that was theraputic in itself, and I still will have a glass now and then.  See what kind of resources your local authorities can give you for some guidance. 

mobmob's picture
Posts: 14
Joined: Jun 2012

While I was going through chemo (carboplatin and taxol) the nurses reminded me several times that a glass of wine a day would be no problem. I don't drink much anyway, so doing without alcohol during treatment was in no way a hardship for me. I just felt I'd rather not take any risks. It is apparently rare to be someone who does not care about drinking.

That being said, I think it would be best that you refrain from making your sister feel guilty about drinking during chemo as long as she follows the doctor's instructions regarding what she drinks and how much. If the doctor says one glass of wine a day is fine, then let her have her one glass a day. She has lost control over so much in her life, maybe for her it's too much to also have to give up drinking completely. She has cancer, for crying out loud.

I understand her resistance to other people's advice. When I was first diagnosed I used to say that if each piece of advice were furniture, I could build a HUGE tower and have a great big bonfire. I felt overwhelmed by all the advice I got.

FourBee's picture
Posts: 15
Joined: May 2013

Drinking alcohol if you are estrogen positive can increase your risk of cancer. Alcohol fuels estrogen so while alcohol is okay for some people it is not a great idea for those that test hormone positive. Also, make sure your sister takes in lots of herb tea (unsweetened) and water to flush her kidneys as the chemo and steroids can wreak havoc! Best wishes. 

Posts: 17
Joined: May 2020

I was wondering   I start chemo and radation in 10 days my wife wants me to take her out for dinner and drinks. Is it okj to drink alcohol this close to starting treatment?

TeddyandBears_Mom's picture
Posts: 1802
Joined: Jun 2015

paintmatt, I would ask my oncologist this question.  Most of us are not doctors here and can only share what our docs told us for our specific cancer and treatments.

Good luck when you start. I hope it all goes well for you. 


Posts: 17
Joined: May 2020

Thank-you for your reply I will call him and ask him

Quilter_1's picture
Posts: 118
Joined: Mar 2019

I did not drink a few days before chemo or the week following.  I would have an occasional glass of wine during my 2 good weeks between treatments.  I would dilute it with 7Up, making a sparkling wine cocktail.

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