Alcohol Breast Cancer Risk

November 3, 2011 by staff 

Alcohol Breast Cancer Risk, For years, women have realized that having more than one alcoholic drink a day increases the risk of developing breast cancer. A new study supports this link, and suggests that one drink a day may be too. A team of Harvard-affiliated researchers tracked the health of 106,000 women over a period of 28 years-an eternity in medical research. The women were asked several times throughout the study about their diets, habits, and more. Women who had the equivalent of three to six drinks per week had a modest increase in breast cancer risk (15%) compared with women who never drank alcohol. While an increase of 15% seems a lot, which would result in an extra three breast cancer cases per 1,000 women per year. The higher the alcohol, the greater the risk of developing breast cancer. Two drinks a day would result in an extra four breast cancers per 1,000 women per year.

No matter what type of alcohol the women drank. The risks are the same for wine, beer and spirits.

The findings, published today in JAMA, to consolidate what we know about the relationship between alcohol and breast cancer. But how to square with all the “alcohol is good for the heart” messages from women (and men) have been receiving in recent years?

The risks and benefits of alcohol have been calculated for large groups of women. But none of us is exactly like the mythical average woman emerges from the large studies. What matters is how alcohol can affect us as individuals. As explained in an article in the letter last month the Heart of Harvard University, “in the history of the protection of alcohol = heart,” which depends on our own health risks.

If you are at high risk of coronary artery disease and low risk for breast cancer, one drink a day can be beneficial. If you are at high risk of breast cancer, alcohol consumption could do more harm than good. And keep in mind that alcohol affects almost all other systems in the body by the heart and chest.

With all the focus on the benefits and risks of moderate drinking, excessive alcohol is often overlooked. The National Institutes of Health estimates that 4 out of 10 people who drink alcohol are heavy drinkers or at risk of being, and that nearly 19 million Americans have alcohol problems.

If you are concerned about your drinking, take a test on our website, or check drinking Rethink, a free report by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

In the United States, a standard drink contains approximately 0.6 ounces of alcohol. Drinks are shown above contain more or less that amount of alcohol. Moderate drinking is generally defined as no more than two drinks per day for men and not more than one drink per day for women. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines as low-risk drinking, risk and high risk.

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