Alcohol Increases The Risk Of Breast Cancer – Research Suggests

06-fruit-smoothies-mango-12By ANDREA WHITE

The recent rise of cancer in the world can be explained by looking at not one but several environmental, genetic, and hormonal factors. Similarly, such aspects can also be observed to see the rise in cases of breast cancer across the world.

Recent studies have suggested further reasons that can give details on breast cancer.  For example, a research from May 2016 has highlighted the impact of lifestyle factors on breast cancer in women including the amount of alcohol intake.

Know about the types of breast cancer here. 

In addition, a Danish study published in the British Journal of Medicine took into account the connection between alcohol intake and breast cancer providing the researchers with further information on the issue.

The Danish researchers concentrated on the changes in intake of alcohol in women over the past five years and concluded that the women who increased their alcohol consumption had a higher chance of developing breast cancer.

Women who added as little as two more drinks in their daily routine in five years had thirty percent higher risk of breast cancer than the women who had the same and unchanged amount of alcohol in their daily diets.

Furthermore, the study also saw a twenty percent decrease in chances of developing heart disease in the women who increased their alcohol consumption. However, the researchers unanimously agreed that there are other ways to lower heart disease chances which do not increase the risk of cancer.

How does alcohol increase the chances of breast cancer?

There is now a good number of studies available that corroborate the fact that an increased alcohol intake leads to an increased danger of hormone receptive positive breast cancer.

The higher amount of alcohol causes an overproduction of estrogen and other hormones which are linked to hormone receptive positive breast cancer along with damaging the DNA in the cells.

Hence, women who drink three alcoholic drinks a day have a fifteen percent higher risk of breast cancer than those who do not have alcohol in their diets at all. In accordance with, the risk of breast cancer increase by ten percent with an addition of an alcoholic drink to a day.

A study conducted by University of Houston in 2016 provided further details on the effects of alcohol on the women’s bodies.

It showed that alcohol not only triggers an extra production of estrogen but makes the cancer-treating drug Tamoxifen which is used popularly to block excessive estrogen production ineffective.

Therefore, the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention advises women to have no more than one drink a day. If your consumption is even less than this, it is advised that you do not increase your diet anymore.

How do you really define a ‘drink’?

It is important to know what all of the studies on the link between breast cancer and alcohol refer to as a drink as there are differences in many types of alcohols and their amount.  Having a glass of wine is not the same as having a glass of martini.

Both of them look like a single drink to most of the people. In reality, a ‘dirty’ martini contains about six ounces of vodka. This is actually equivalent to a total of four drinks. The official guidelines provided by National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism are used popularly by researchers to define a drink.

According to the guidelines, the following can be considered a drink:

  • 5 ounces or what is a ‘shot’ of 80-proof liquor
  • 8 ounces of malt liquor
  • 6 ounces of pure alcohol
  • 12 ounces of hard cider or beer (which is 3-7 percent of alcohol)
  • 5 ounces of wine

Men who drink more than two drinks and women who have more than one drink of alcohol are said to have a moderate alcohol intake which is safe. Anything more than this will harm you in the long run. Make sure you have an idea of what you are drinking and not just the glasses as well.

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  1. Considering what a hangover can look like for some of us, it makes sense that a toxin like alcohol plays a big part in our long term health. I am just glad there is finally some research that is coming out on the harm alcohol, it is such a socially acceptable activity, that the negatives to this pass time, often seem as if they swept under the carpet.

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