ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Can over drinking raise breast cancer risk?

Updated on January 23, 2008
 

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, which occurs when abnormal cells grow out of control in one or both breasts. It occurs in one out of nine women. But if detected early, up to 90 percent of the breast cancer patient can be cured. However, it often is fatal. There are many risk factors that can cause breast cancer. These factors include heredity (sister or mother with the disease), diet, smoking, aging and alcohol consumption. In this article we will discussion on whether overdrinking can raise breast cancer risk.

Amount of drinks raises breast cancer risk

There is a positive relationship between number of drinks and risk, e.g. the more a woman drinks, the more she increases her risk of developing breast cancer. Research result reported at the European Cancer Conference in Spain 2007 showed that women who drank three or more alcoholic beverages a day increased their risk of breast cancer by 30 percent. Women who drank one or two a day increased their risk by 10 percent. The relationship between alcohol consumption and breast cancer has been studied for more than 10 years. In 2003, University of California-San Francisco researchers found that among Marin County women, alcohol consumption was one of the biggest differences between those who developed breast cancer and those who did not.

The results of the same research also fund that it made no difference what type of alcoholic drink the women had. If a woman consumes alcohol of any kind, including beer, hard liquor, and red and white wine, cancer risk is increased. It was the fact they contained ethyl alcohol that mattered, and how much was consumed. Alcohol is a carcinogen or cancer causing chemical. The only thing that affected the risk was the amount of alcohol. Drinking wine, beer or spirits makes no difference in the increasing of breast cancer risk, the researchers reported. Even red wine and white wine are the same in the way they cause breast cancer.

A group of researchers led by researchers from cancer research UK, in Oxford, UK found that single daily drink of 1 oz of spirits such as whiskey, gin, or vodka, or 3 oz of wine increases a woman's breast cancer risk slightly, 3% to 4%. But after that, every additional daily drink increases the risk by 7%. By four drinks a day, a woman's risk goes to 30%.

The effect of alcohol was there regardless of a woman's race, education, family history, use of hormone replacement therapy, or other risk factors. No matter what a woman's baseline risk, it went up 7% with each drink.

The actual mechanism is not yet very clear but theoretically, alcohol changes women's estrogen metabolism, so that heavy drinkers have more estrogen in their bodies. Breast cancers are sensitive to this hormone and can feed on it.

In a research during a three 8-week periods, each participant consumed 15 or 30 grams of alcohol (the equivalent of one or two drinks) per day, or an alcohol-free drink. At the end of each 8-week period, the researchers measured levels of sex hormones, including estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone, in the women's blood. It was found that women who consumed 15 grams of alcohol per day showed a 7.5% increase in a breakdown product of estrogen called estrone sulfate, compared to women not drinking alcohol. Women who consumed 30 grams of alcohol per day showed an even greater increase (10.7%), compared to women not drinking alcohol.

Smoking can worsen the effect of alcohol

Women who drink and smoke expose themselves to a higher incidence of breast cancer because tobacco is also a carcinogen. Women who smoke are also at higher risk for other types of cancer such as liver, mouth, esophagus and colon.

The increase in breast cancer risk due to three or more alcoholic drinks a day is similar to that posed by smoking a pack of cigarettes or more a day and it is also similar to the risk posed by taking oestrogenic hormones.

From above discussion, we can see that over drinking indeed can raise breast cancer risk. Therefore, for women who are drinking, it's better to cut down or quit drinking altogether to minimize the possibility to develop breast cancer. Although there is some evidence that light drinking may be beneficial to heart health, that benefit can be replaced by other remedies. For those who don't drink at all, it's better just not to start drinking.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)