Alcohol is a modifiable breast cancer risk, increasing risk in a dose-dependent manner. Mid-life women (aged 45–64 years) consume alcohol at higher rates than younger women and this, combined with age, make them a high-risk group for breast cancer. This critical public health problem has a seemingly obvious solution (reduce drinking); however, women do not necessarily know alcohol causes breast cancer, and if they do, reducing consumption is not always possible, or desirable. To innovate public health responses, we employ an interpretative sociological framework ‘candidacy’ to understand women’s perspectives on breast cancer risk relative to alcohol consumption and their social class. Drawing on 50 interviews with Australian mid-life women, our findings reveal the socio-structural determinants of ‘candidacy’, that mean modifying alcohol consumption for breast cancer prevention is impacted by social class. Utilising Bourdieu’s relational capitals, our interpretations show how social class shapes women’s ascriptions and enactments of breast cancer candidacy. We offer an important theoretical extension to ‘candidacy’ by demonstrating more or less fluidity in women’s assessment of breast cancer risk according to their agency to adopt breast cancer prevention messages. Understanding the social class possibilities and limitations in women’s perceptions of breast cancer risk provides a new opportunity to reduce inequities in breast cancer incidence.