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Alcohol And Breast Cancer Risk

Will Drinking With Breast Cancer Make It Worse

What Would You Tell Your Patients About Drinking Alcohol and Breast Cancer Risk?

Few studies have looked at alcohol consumption following a breast cancer diagnosis.

Although more research is necessary, no strong or consistent evidence currently suggests that drinking alcohol reduces a persons chance of surviving breast cancer. However, some evidence suggests that alcohol consumption may raise the risk of breast cancer recurrence or secondary breast cancer.

Drinking can also raise a persons risk of other health conditions, such as:

2013 study involving 22,890 women with breast cancer in the United States found no link between post-diagnosis alcohol consumption and the risk of dying from breast cancer. However, women with breast cancer who drank less alcohol were less likely to die from any cause over an average follow-up period of 11.3 years.

A 2016 study involving 7,835 women with breast cancer in the U.S. found no link between post-diagnosis alcohol consumption and death from breast cancer or death from any cause.

Cancers Linked To Alcohol Use

Alcohol use has been linked with cancers of the:

Alcohol probably also increases the risk of cancer of the stomach, and might affect the risk of some other cancers as well.

For each of these cancers, the more alcohol you drink, the higher your cancer risk. But for some types of cancer, most notably breast cancer, consuming even small amounts of alcohol can increase risk.

Cancers of the mouth, throat, voice box, and esophagus: Alcohol use clearly raises the risk of these cancers. Drinking and smoking together raises the risk of these cancers many times more than drinking or smoking alone. This might be because alcohol can help harmful chemicals in tobacco get inside the cells that line the mouth, throat, and esophagus. Alcohol may also limit how these cells can repair damage to their DNA caused by the chemicals in tobacco.

Liver cancer: Long-term alcohol use has been linked to an increased risk of liver cancer. Regular, heavy alcohol use can damage the liver, leading to inflammation and scarring, which might be why it raises the risk of liver cancer.

Colon and rectal cancer: Alcohol use has been linked with a higher risk of cancers of the colon and rectum. The evidence for this is generally stronger in men than in women, but studies have found the link in both sexes.

Light And Moderate Drinking

Drinking alcoholic beverages increases the risk of breast cancer, even among very light drinkers . The risk is highest among heavy drinkers.

Light drinking is one to three alcoholic drinks per week, and moderate drinking is about one drink per day. Both light and moderate drinking is associated with a higher risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer. However, the increased risk caused by light drinking is smaller than the risk for heavy drinking.

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Alcohol And Breast Cancer

Several factors can affect a persons risk of breast cancer, including genetic and environmental factors. Alcohol consumption is one of the modifiable risk factors.

According to the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research, strong evidence indicates that drinking alcohol raises the risk of breast cancer.

Research has linked even light alcohol consumption to an increased risk. A 2018 review pooled the results of 60 past studies on alcohol and cancer, including 27 studies on breast cancer incidence. It found that:

  • Drinking up to half an alcoholic drink per day raised the risk of breast cancer by 4%.
  • Drinking up to one alcoholic drink per day raised the risk of breast cancer by 9%.
  • Drinking one to two alcoholic drinks per day raised the risk of breast cancer by 13%.

The authors of this study defined one drink as containing 12.5 grams of alcohol.

According to one 2020 review , studies have also found stronger links between alcohol consumption and breast cancer in North America than in other parts of the world.

More research is necessary to understand why this is. However, it might reflect regional differences in how frequently people binge drink, among other things.

How Much Alcohol Increases The Risk

Alcohols Role in Increasing Breast Cancer Risk

Even low levels of alcohol consumption can increase a womans risk of breast cancer.

What might be less well known is that the risk of breast cancer is greater among women who start drinking at an early age. Women who drink around two standard drinks a day through their teens and early twenties are three times more likely to develop breast cancer than those who do not drink.

Alcohol intake is linked to breast cancer risk, the more you drink the higher the risk.

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Beyond Breast Cancer: Alcohol And Health

Anything more than moderate drinking could take a toll on your health. It can also cause other serious health problems. Drinking is linked to several other forms of cancer, including mouth, throat, liver, and colon. It can damage your heart, liver, kidneys, brain, and even your unborn child if youâre pregnant. It can also play a part in accidents, relationship problems, violence, and mental health issues like depression.

Talk to your doctor about therapy or treatment if you drink heavily or binge on a regular basis, or if you notice that drinking interferes with your relationships or work life.

Show Sources âU.S. Breast Cancer Statistics,â âBreast Cancer Risk Factors,â âDrinking Alcohol,â âThe Risk Factors for Male Breast Cancer.â

CDC: âGlossary — Alcohol.â

Harvard School of Public Health: âAlcohol: Balancing Risks and Benefits.â

Health News Review: âTodayâs alcohol and breast cancer headlines are wrong: Hereâs how news reports could have done better.â

National Cancer Institute: âBreast Cancer Risk in American Women,â âAlcohol and Cancer Risk.â

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism: âAlcohol’s Effects on the Body.â

University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center: âAlcohol and breast cancer risk: What to know.â

Journal of Clinical Oncology: âAlcohol Consumption and Breast Cancer Recurrence and Survival Among Women With Early-Stage Breast Cancer: The Life After Cancer Epidemiology Study.â

What Are The Risk Factors For Breast Cancer

CDCs Dr. Lisa Richardson explains the link between drinking alcoholic beverages and breast cancer risk in this video.

Studies have shown that your risk for breast cancer is due to a combination of factors. The main factors that influence your risk include being a woman and getting older. Most breast cancers are found in women who are 50 years old or older.

Some women will get breast cancer even without any other risk factors that they know of. Having a risk factor does not mean you will get the disease, and not all risk factors have the same effect. Most women have some risk factors, but most women do not get breast cancer. If you have breast cancer risk factors, talk with your doctor about ways you can lower your risk and about screening for breast cancer.

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Did I Cause My Cancer By Drinking Alcohol

No one should feel blamed for developing cancer. In most cases, we do not know the specific cause of an individuals cancer. Many factors, such as alcohol, can increase the likelihood of cancer, but individual risk depends on lots of things including those you cannot change like your age, genetics, and the environment in which you live.

A Note About Sex And Gender

Alcohol and breast cancer risk

Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms, male, female, or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. .

In comparison with females who do not drink any alcohol, research suggests alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer as follows:

  • three alcoholic drinks a week leads to a 15% increased risk
  • an increased risk of 10% for every additional drink people have each day on a regular basis

In females between the ages of 915 years, drinking between three and five alcoholic drinks each week triples the risk of developing noncancerous breast lumps. Some types of noncancerous breast lumps may link to an increased risk of breast cancer in later life.

Although there is little research on alcohol and recurrence,

of breast cancer for the following reasons:

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How Much Alcohol Is Safe To Drink

There is no amount of alcohol that is safe. Drinking even small amounts of alcohol regularly can cause cancer. For example, breast cancer in women increases by around 7-10 percent per standard drink per day. For more information see Whats a Standard Drink?.

The more alcohol, the higher the chance of developing cancers. To protect against alcohol-related cancer risk, its best not to drink alcohol.

Can Drinking Alcohol Cause Breast Cancer

Regularly drinking alcohol increases your risk of developing breast cancer.

  • The more you drink, the greater your risk
  • Just one alcoholic drink a day can increase your risk, although you can still develop breast cancer even if you do not drink
  • To reduce your risk of breast cancer, limit the amount of alcohol you drink

The earlier in your life you start to reduce your drinking, the better.

Reducing your drinking can also help improve your general health and wellbeing, as well as reducing your risk of other cancers and diseases.

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Alcohol: The Cause Of Nearly 40 000 New Breast Cancer Cases

The WHO European Region has the highest rate of new breast cancer diagnoses compared to any of the other WHO regions. According to estimates from the International Agency for Research on Cancer , in 2020 alcohol consumption was responsible for almost 40 000 new breast cancer cases in the Region.

The same data show that breast cancer has become the most common cancer globally. More than 2 million new cases were estimated in 2020, and about 100 000 of these were attributable to alcohol consumption.

Many people, including women, are not aware that breast cancer is the most common cancer caused by alcohol among women globally. People need to know that by reducing alcohol consumption they can reduce their risk of getting cancer. It doesnt matter what type, quality or price alcohol is, says Dr Marilys Corbex, Senior Technical Officer for Noncommunicable Diseases at WHO/Europe.

Collaborative Group On Hormonal Factors In Breast Cancer

8 Alcoholic Drinks And Their Surprising Amount of Calories  Page 4 ...

The analyses included 58,515 women with invasive breast cancer and 95,067 controls from 53 studies. Compared with women who reported drinking no alcohol, the relative risk of breast cancer was 1.32 for an intake of 35 to 44 g/day alcohol, and was 1.46 for 45 g/day alcohol. The relative risk of breast cancer increased by 7.1% for each additional 10 g/day intake of alcohol that is, for each extra unit or drink of alcohol consumed on a daily basis. This increase was the same in ever smokers and never smokers .

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Does Drinking Alcohol Mean You Will Definitely Get Cancer

Not everyone who drinks alcohol will develop cancer. However, drinking alcohol regularly can increase the likelihood of cancer, like tobacco, too much UV sun radiation, being overweight and a lack of physical activity. Less or no alcohol, can reduce your likelihood of getting cancer.

You probably know that smoking or spending too long in the sun can cause cancer, but you might not know that alcohol can also increase the risk of at least seven types of cancer.

Trust Knowledge And Uncertainty In Relation To Cancer Risk Factors

In line with the results of the main survey women showed little knowledge of alcohol as a risk for breast cancer, they also demonstrated considerable uncertainty about which sources of information they could trust. Womens knowledge of breast cancer tended to be based on their own experiences or stories told by others they knew, which in turn could encourage them to find out more. In focus groups they exchanged stories and talked of what they had learnt they appeared to trust this type of first-hand information and started engaging with it by asking questions.

The conversations suggested a real lack of knowledge about how managing alcohol consumption fitted into a healthy lifestyle, or even how to talk about it: how much was safe whether it was a risk at all how many units were in a measure and understanding different sized drinks and strengths of alcohol.

I mean a glass of wines its a bit like a cup of tea a glass of wine used to be like that, now its like that .

Both women and staff recognised a need to understand more about lower risk alcohol consumption specifically relative to volumes of drinks consumed. Womens motivations, understanding and rationalisation for their own alcohol consumption were varied and complex and perhaps reflect the varied cultural values, symbolic value and messages about alcohol represented in todays social environment.

its been marketed in such a way that, particularly with wine, that its good for you, in a way .

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Potential Impact Of Adding Prevention Information

The response to adding a 5min cancer prevention information session to either the SG or CG was similar in both groups 60/197 said it would make them more likely to attend and 137/197 said it would make no difference to their attendance. No one marked the option that it would make them less likely to attend. Potential disadvantages of adding a cancer prevention session were identified by 28% of the SG and 40% of CG, with time, additional use of resources and potential cause for anxiety cited as the main concerns. In terms of preference for how this might be delivered, 31% stated they would prefer this to be by an electronic device, 26% by post, 40% by a trained nurse and 18% by a trained volunteer.

Health professional sample

Qualitative findings

In accordance with the open ended focus group questions themed around the potential introduction of cancer risk messages to symptomatic clinics, what follows are the principle emergent themes from the focus group discussions and interviews.

Alcohol And Breast Cancer How Big Is The Risk

New Study Suggests One Alcoholic Drink Per Day Increases Risk For Breast Cancer

Half a glass of wine a day increases breast cancer was just one of the headlines this week, which discussed a report that reinforced the evidence that alcohol can increase a womans risk of developing breast cancer.

The report from the World Cancer Research Fund outlined the latest evidence on how we can reduce that risk focusing on weight, physical activity and drinking.

The WCRF studies all the evidence on a potential risk and decides whether its strong enough to be a basis for making recommendations to the public.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK, and 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their lives. And since we know that almost a third of breast cancer cases in the UK could be prevented, largely by changes to lifestyle, this is important stuff.

While the cause of an individuals cancer can never be certain, there are still things you can do to reduce your risk. And evidence like this is the first step to helping women to do just that.

So what exactly does the report say?

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National Health Guidelines For Alcohol

UK national health guidelines recommend that women drink no more than 14 units a week.

This is the equivalent of six pints of lower-strength beer or six 175ml glasses of wine a week.

If you can, spread your drinks over a few days and have days off drinking each week.

Theres still a risk of breast cancer associated with this level of drinking. However, you can get breast cancer even if you do not drink, and it can be a useful limit to stick to when beginning to cut down.

Yes Drinking Alcohol Can Increase Your Risk Of Breast Cancer

  • A strong body of scientific evidence shows alcohol consumption increases the risk of breast cancer.
  • Many women remain unaware of the role alcohol can play in breast cancer risk.
  • The Alcohol Research Group in California is working to change that with the #DrinkLessForYourBreasts initiative, which seeks to educate women about the risk.
  • No amount of alcohol is considered safe, but smaller amounts of alcohol have minimal risk.

For decades, researchers have been studying the connection between alcohol use and breast cancer, and a strong body of evidence shows drinking ups the risk.

Despite this work, many women in the United States remain unaware that drinking habits could affect their chance of getting cancer.

A new campaign from the Alcohol Research Group in California aims to change that. The #DrinkLessForYourBreasts initiative seeks to educate women about the risk and urges them to consider the impact drinking alcohol can have on their health.

The purpose of the campaign is to raise awareness among young women that alcohol is a risk factor for breast cancer, Priscilla Martinez, PhD, a scientist with ARG, told Healthline.

There is 30 years worth of evidence supporting this so were pretty confident that this relationship is real. But the vast majority of young women have no idea that alcohol is a risk factor for breast cancer.

study published in the journal Preventive Medicine Reports found that only 25 percent of women ages 15 to 44 were aware of this connection.

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Patient And Public Involvement

The design for this study was developed at an innovation workshop funded jointly by Cancer Research UK and BUPA Foundation which included patient and public involvement representation. Following up the initial survey results with participants in a series of focus groups and telephone interviews ensured participants were actively involved in the conduct of the study. The data and preliminary findings were presented at a CRUK showcase event including a wide range of PPI stakeholders.


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