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Even One Drink = Higher Breast Cancer Risk?

Even One Drink = Higher Breast Cancer Risk?

You can be forgiven for not being entirely sure what the deal is with moderate alcohol consumption.

Some say a glass a day is good for you, and can even decrease your risk of alzheimer’s, dementia and heart disease.  Wired even tells us that drinking no alcohol increases your risk of dying.

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?

 

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Photo Credit: Quinn.anya on flickr.

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54 comments

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9:00AM PST on Nov 16, 2011

thanks for information!

9:10PM PST on Nov 13, 2011

NO WAY I'll give up my margs, one or two a week!!!

10:20PM PST on Nov 10, 2011

dangit

1:52PM PST on Nov 8, 2011

You know, everything can give you cancer nowadays. I'm living my life the same and I'm going to happy while doing it. If I get cancer I get cancer. There really doesn't seem to be a 100% way to avoid it so I'll wait for the vaccine to be invented (if I'm still alive for it :)

12:11PM PDT on Nov 5, 2011

Please ... read this article about breast cancer by Dr. Joel Fuhrman: http://www.diseaseproof.com/archives/breast-cancer-october-was-breast-cancer-awareness-month-didnt-you-hear.html.

2:44PM PDT on Nov 4, 2011

I'm a Muslim so I never drank and never will, and I'm glad I'm so anti-alcohol, because one study after another, it just proves to be lethal. Yes, it may have some benefits, but if you are going to be reasonal and seriously think of the cons as well as the few pros, then Alexandra is right: its poison.

4:38AM PDT on Nov 4, 2011

This is not surprising. Alcohol is a poison. In sufficient quantities it can devastate a body. I have seen young men bleed to death with what was known as "sheerer's disease", which is severe cirrhosis and varicose veins in the gullet due to getting a lot of money after prolonged abstinence and then spending all of that money on drink.
In the case of breast cancer the likely mechanism is liver damage. The liver is the big detoxifying organ of the body. It breaks down estrogen and a greater amount of that in women whose liver is not up to the task may help to encourage the formation of breast cancer. It would be interesting to see whether that is so.
I doubt that a glass a day would matter all that much, but this survey may include women who drink heavily.
This is an interesting peace of research.

3:03AM PDT on Nov 4, 2011

thanks

10:54PM PDT on Nov 3, 2011

Is a curoius fact to me! And definitely something that I will read more about ..

Thank YOU,,
-Holly

5:51PM PDT on Nov 3, 2011

Everything we consume has poisons in it and findings would show that anything you consume will increase your risk of some kind of cancer or other illness.

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