Drinking alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer

Drinking alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer

Drinking alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer, according to recent research from five Spanish universities in a European investigation.

The link between alcohol and cancer is certainly nothing new. It has been known for years and confirmed by many studies. The European researchers write that the risk of breast cancer quadruples with the daily intake of each glass of wine or beer.

María Dolores Chirlaque, one of the Spanish scientists who forms part of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) team, explained:

”A woman’s average risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer increases by 4% with each additional 10 grams/day of alcohol. In other words, a daily intake of one glass of wine or beer — or less — would correspond to a risk value of 1. However, if we increase our intake to two daily glasses of wine or beer, our risk would rise by 4%‘.’

The study abstract provided the following details:

Up to 334,850 women, aged 35–70 years at baseline, were recruited in ten European countries and followed up an average of 11 years. Alcohol intake at baseline and average lifetime alcohol intake were calculated from country-specific dietary and lifestyle questionnaires. The study outcomes were the Hazard ratios (HR) of developing breast cancer according to hormonal receptor status. During 3,670,439 person-years, 11,576 incident breast cancer cases were diagnosed. Alcohol intake was significantly related to breast cancer risk, for each 10 g/day increase in alcohol intake the HR increased by 4.2% (95% CI: 2.7–5.8%). Taking 0 to 5 g/day as reference, alcohol intake of >5 to 15 g/day was related to a 5.9% increase in breast cancer risk (95% CI: 1–11%). Significant increasing trends were observed between alcohol intake and ER+/PR+, ER−/PR−, HER2− and ER−/PR−HER2− tumors. Breast cancer risk was stronger among women who started drinking prior to first full-time pregnancy. Overall, our results confirm the association between alcohol intake and both hormone receptor positive and hormone receptor negative breast tumors, suggesting that timing of exposure to alcohol drinking may affect the risk. Therefore, women should be advised to control their alcohol consumption.

The study showing that drinking alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer was published in the International Journal of Cancer.

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1. “A New Study Confirms That Alcohol Intake Increases the Risk of Breast Cancer.” AlphaGalileo. AlphaGalileo, n.d. Web. 09 Aug. 2016.
2. “Alcohol Intake and Breast Cancer in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition.” Wiley Online Library. International Journal of Cancer, n.d. Web. 09 Aug. 2016.

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