Ladies, do you routinely have a drink a day? A new study finds that doing so can give you a 5% to 9% increased risk of breast cancer.
New study is first to quantifying the increased risk
A new study from the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) and the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) reveals that just one drink a day on average can boost a woman’s chances of getting breast cancer no matter her age.
The findings, however, are not a monolith; the alcohol poses a different level of risk for women depending on their stage of life.
Premenopausal women who consumed one drink a day on average showed a 5% increased risk of developing breast cancer. Postmenopausal women, meanwhile, demonstrated a 9% risk increase.
The connection between alcohol and increased risk of cancer is not new in and of itself. What is new is the quantification of the risk of breast cancer for women.
“The increase with one drink a day was small … but the risk goes up from there,” Dr. Anne McTiernan, one of the study’s lead authors, is quoted as saying. “So that’s why AICR recommends no more than one alcohol drink a day for women to reduce risk for cancer.”
One drink a day is defined as 10 grams of alcohol, to be exact. That’s a small glass of wine, an eight-ounce beer or a single shot of hard liquor.
The study examined data from 119 observational studies, which monitored more than 260,000 cases of breast cancer among 12 million women worldwide.
Some 12% of women in the United States and England will develop breast cancer during their lifetime, according to BreastCancer.org.
Here’s the counterpoint
Before you dispense with drinking entirely, you’ve got to consider the other evidence.
Wine in particular is noted for its high levels of antioxidants. Antioxidants are powerful health agents that help your cells fight off damaging free radicals and boost your immune system.
In one recent study, red wine was also shown to improve cholesterol.
Using wine to lower cholesterol can be part of an inexpensive plan to defray the costs of cholesterol drugs. And that could be a major win for your pocketbook when you consider there are promising new cholesterol drugs that will reportedly cost $14,000 annually per patient!
Meanwhile, another new study suggests that people who regularly drink alcohol are less likely to die young than people who never drink.
Wherever you come down on the alcohol debate, remember the old maxim: All things in moderation!
What women who regularly drink can do to reduce the risk of breast cancer
In addition to limiting alcohol intake, the AICR has a few recommendations for women who want to reduce their risk of breast cancer:
1. Commit to regular vigorous physical activity. It is shown to reduce the risk of both postmenopausal and premenopausal breast cancers.
2. If vigorous exercise isn’t possible, moderate physical activity has also been shown to reduce the risk of postmenopausal breast cancer.
3. Breastfeeding during your childbearing years can reduce the risk of both postmenopausal and premenopausal breast cancers.