You can be forgiven for not being entirely sure what the deal is with moderate alcohol consumption.
But there are undeniable downsides to alcohol, and the list keeps getting longer: Tuesday researchers announced a small but significant increased risk of breast cancer linked to alcohol consumption.
A study with Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston followed over 100,000 women in the US — all nurses — for 30 years, documenting their average alcohol intake and comparing it to their health, specifically the incidence of breast cancer.
The results were clear: The more the women drank, the more their risk of breast cancer went up, albeit slightly. A drink a day, on average, bumped their likelihood of developing cancer up from 2.8% to 3.5% over ten years. Heavier drinking upped the risk to 4%.
The risk is still overall very small, and a bump of 1.5% is probably not going to cause anyone to swear off alcohol for life – and yet, it’s something to think about, particularly for those with increased cancer risks such as family history or a personal history of cancer.
Will you be giving up your nightly glass of merlot? Or is the risk slight enough to not worry about it?
Photo Credit: Quinn.anya on flickr.