Lower Breast Cancer Risk By Avoiding Alcohol

Lower Breast Cancer Risk By Avoiding Alcohol

If you want to lower breast cancer risk avoiding alcohol may be key, as even a little alcohol might be enough to get you in trouble. While experts have warned of the many health dangers of too much drinking, a new review reveals that just a single alcoholic drink each day can raise a woman’s risk of breast cancer by almost 5%. Heavier intakes (3+ drinks/day) can bring the increase in risk to a dangerous 50% according to the team of researchers from France, Italy and Germany.

Warnings about alcohol consumption and cancer of the breast were first brought to light during the early 1980s, and have gained ground ever since. Alcohol is believed to raise estrogen levels, and there are earlier studies that have found alcohol linked strongly to estrogen receptor positive cancers that need the hormone in order to keep growing.

For the current review the team examined past research and selected 113 earlier studies that examined light drinking and cancer risk. They were able to attribute 2% of breast cancers in both North America and Europe to light drinking; almost 50,000 of these cancers the world over to drinking heavily. The findings do seem to echo the advice of physicians, to live a healthy lifestyle and minimize your intake of alcohol.

A healthy woman, who is at average risk for breast cancer, should not drink in excess of one alcoholic beverage a day. If you’re at a higher risk due of a family history for example, you should avoid daily consumption of alcohol and perhaps only drink on special occasions, if at all.

While a family history of this disease increases your risk, remember that most women who get breast cancer do NOT have a family history of the disease.

The link between even moderate alcohol intake and a slightly higher risk of breast cancer was reported previously. The new findings update this thinking, and because they made use of both newer and older studies, are able to give a better estimate of the risk of drinking alcohol every day.

But, moderate alcohol intake is also believed to be good for the heart. So how do women choose?

Look to guidelines that suggest if you don’t drink alcohol, don’t start for health benefits. If you do drink, keep your intake to a maximum of one drink daily, though if you are at risk of cancer you might be smart to avoid alcohol altogether.

Experts believe that if you are at risk, a single change like this won’t have much impact. You’ll need to be doing other things – exercising and eating healthy – as well to truly lower breast cancer risk. In the U.S., estimates suggest that one in every eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some time in her life. The risk from light alcohol intake is then added onto that starting point. The good news is that drinking alcohol is totally within your control -so you can do something about your breast cancer risk if you need to.

Lower Breast Cancer Risk By Avoiding Alcohol

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