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Breast Cancer Numbers Continue To Rise - Could Alcohol Be The Culprit?

Updated on January 12, 2012

Breast cancer is on the rise and the figures make for depressing reading. It is estimated that 207,090 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women in the US, whilst Cancer Research UK show that 47,700 women were diagnosed in 2008, over 5,000 more than 10 years ago, a rise of 3.5%. This translates as double the number since 1971 have been affected by the disease.


Alcohol One of the Main Causes of Breast Cancer

Amongst other causes of the risk of developing risk cancer is the consumption of alcohol. In this 21st century we are living, believe it or not, more prosperous lives, a consequence of which is drinking more alcohol.

Although the main link to the rise in breast cancer is exposure to the hormone estrogen, Susan Gapstur, PhD, MPH, vice president of epidemiology at the American Cancer Society (ACS) quoted in the article “The Alcohol Breast Cancer Connection,” in that the association of alcohol and breast cancer maybe “due to the alcohol-associated increase in circulating estrogen hormone, or there might be a direct action of the products formed from alcohol in the body on breast tissue.


To Drink or Not to Drink That is The Question?

One school of thought believes that it is ok to drink alcohol in moderation, and large studies have borne this out by showing that a moderate consumption of alcohol could lower the risk of heart disease, which is the leading killer of women in the Unites States. But others believe that even the minutest amount of alcohol is detrimental to and is not worth the risk of exposing one to breast cancer.

So what should you do? It is advised that you should have a conversation with your doctor with the view of finding out your personal risks and benefits of drinking. If it is confirmed that you are at high risk for breast cancer, you should restrict the limit of alcohol you consume.

Bear in mind that apart from breast cancer excessive drinking can lead to many different cancers and other problems, including heart disease, so don’t take the chance and gamble with your health. In real terms you should not make drinking more than one regular measurement of alcoholic drink a regular pattern. Take note that drinking increases the risk of breast cancer by seven percent for each single unit of alcohol per day. And if you have a family history of breast cancer drinking increases the risk of contracting the illness.

Now, we are not saying that drinking alcohol causes breast cancer, but if you do drink alcohol you are at more risk of developing breast cancer. But it is clear from many large scale studies that alcohol has an effect. One in five (20%) of all alcohol-related deaths are due to cancer. (1) And breast cancer is the most common cancer among women. So you have been warned cut your alcoholic intake.


Further reading on Breast Cancer:
How to Detect Breast Cancer - Do You Have Any of These Symptoms?


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