Breast Cancer & Alcohol Link Confirmed
A report from the Nurses' Health Study released on Tuesday, November 1st stated that the risk of breast cancer increased even among those who averaged three to six drinks a week. This finding confirmed the results of previous studies. According to a Medpage Today item prepared in conjunction with ABC News, women who consumed as few as three drinks a week had a 15% higher chance of getting a diagnosis of invasive breast cancer than nondrinkers did. The excess risk increased to 50% in women who averaged more than 30 drinks a week. Wendy Y. Chen, MD of Harvard and her co-authors of the study wrote in their assessment that they observed a 10% increase in risk with each 10 grams per day of alcohol intake. They did not find any difference between the types of alcoholic beverages and they concluded that "one probable explanation" for the increase has to do with alcohol's tendency to raise circulating estrogen levels. Because previous studies have shown the benefits of moderate drinking in preventing heart disease in women, each woman should weigh her own risks by taking into account whether or not there is a family history of either heart disease or breast cancer. The Medpage Today item quotes Tim Byers, MD, of the Colorado School of Public Health in Aurora as saying "For most women at average risk for both conditions, the balance favors heart disease – that is, moderate drinking has a net benefit -- as heart disease is much more common than breast cancer. But for women at high risk for breast cancer that balance shifts."