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Does Drinking Alcohol Cause Breast Cancer

Does The Type Of Alcohol Matter

Does Caffeine Cause Breast Cancer?

Ethanol is the type of alcohol found in alcoholic drinks, whether they are beers, wines, liquors , or other drinks. Alcoholic drinks contain different percentages of ethanol, but in general, a standard size drink of any type 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor contains about the same amount of ethanol . Of course, larger or stronger drinks can contain more ethanol than this.

Overall, the amount of alcohol someone drinks over time, not the type of alcoholic beverage, seems to be the most important factor in raising cancer risk. Most evidence suggests that it is the ethanol that increases the risk, not other things in the drink.

How: Does: Alcohol: Cause: Cancer: Print: Fullstoppng

There are three main ways alcohol can cause cancer:

  • Damage to cells. When we drink alcohol, our bodies turn it into a chemical called acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde can cause damage to our cells and can also stop the cells from repairing this damage.
  • Changes to hormones. Alcohol can increase the levels of some hormones such as oestrogen and insulin. Hormones are chemical messengers and higher levels can make cells divide more often, which raises the chance that cancer cells will develop.
  • Changes to cells in the mouth and throat. Alcohol can make cells in the mouth and throat more likely to absorb harmful chemicals. This makes it easier for cancer-causing substances to get into the cell and cause damage.

Remember, its the alcohol itself that causes damage. It doesnt matter whether you drink beer, wine or spirits. All types of alcoholic drink can cause cancer.

Theres plenty of tricks that people claim cure hangovers and reverse damage from alcohol. But even if they work for your hangover, they dont cancel out the damage from drinking alcohol.

Do I Have To Stop Drinking After A Breast Cancer Diagnosis

No. You dont have to do anything you dont want to do.

Some thoughts from the breast cancer trenches re: drink/dont drink:

  • Life is short. Drink the wine.
  • Life is precious. Live it up and enjoy it.
  • I wont miss out on all the things I love.
  • I want to enjoy life and that means drinking.
  • It doesnt matter whether you drink or not. Some people never drink and get cancer. Some drink a lot and dont get it. I dont believe the studies.

People have strong opinions about their alcohol! And theyre entitled to them.

But please know this:

Alcohol is carcinogenic.

To reduce risk of an initial breast cancer diagnosis, there is no safe level of alcohol intake. Theres a risk relationship between alcohol and breast cancer, even at low levels of consumption.

The World Cancer Research Funds alcohol and cancer report indicates a confirmed link between alcohol consumption and pre- and postmenopausal breast cancer initial diagnosis.

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Alcohol And Cancer Risk

Thereâs no question alcohol raises your cancer risk.

According to the American Cancer Society, itâs been linked to cancers of the mouth, throat, larynx, esophagus, liver, colon, rectum and breast. And research also shows the risk is âdose-dependent,â i.e., the more you drink, the more youâre at risk. One drink a day and your breast cancer risk goes up about 10 percent, Li said. Two drinks a day, it goes up 20 percent.

Women who imbibe are particularly at risk for estrogen-receptor-positive, or ER+ breast cancer, since studies have shown that alcohol increases the level of estrogen in postmenopausal women. Unfortunately, thereâs no evidence on what booze does to pre-menopausal womenâs estrogen level because thereâs too much âvariabilityâ in their estrogen to nail down a finding.

âThe effect of the ovary-producing hormones just overwhelms any other effect of alcohol,â Li said âItâs really postmenopausal ER+ breast cancer where the risk appears to be the strongest.â

So how can even light drinking be bad for healthy women and yet somehow not so bad for those whoâve been diagnosed with breast cancer?

Itâs all about risk.

After adjusting for a slew of potential âconfoundersâ such as age, income, family history of breast cancer, smoking status and BMI, the results continually pointed to the same thing.

How Can I Reduce My Drinking

Less alcohol means a lower risk of cancer (and hangovers ...
  • Swap strong beers or wine for ones with a lower strength
  • If youre drinking at home, measure out your drinks to track your intake
  • It can be useful to track your drinking with an app or diary
  • Have an alcohol-free day once or twice a week
  • Talk things over with friends or family who can help support you
  • Space out your drinks in an evening with soft drinks or mocktails

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How Much Alcohol Increases The 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.

Types Of Cancers Linked To Alcohol Use

There are a number of different types of cancer linked to alcohol use and use. The more alcohol a person consumes, the more he or she is at risk of developing one or more of these cancers.

The known types of cancers associated with alcohol use include:

  • Esophagus, Mouth, Throat, And Voice Box Cancer These types of cancers have been clearly linked to alcohol use and use. Combining alcohol with tobacco only increases the risk of developing these cancers.
  • Breast Cancer Women who consumed even a few drinks a week are at an elevated risk of developing breast cancer. This may be due to the fact that alcohol can increase estrogen levels, which has been linked to breast cancer.
  • Liver Cancer Long-term or heavy alcohol use has been proven to increase a persons risk of liver cancer.
  • Colorectal Cancer Alcohol consumption has been shown to increase the risk of colon and rectal cancers.

Additionally, there is some evidence that suggests alcohol may cause other cancers, including pancreatic and prostate cancers. However, more research is needed to be conclusive.

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How Alcohol Is Linked To Breast Cancer

Alcohol use has been linked to seven types of cancer, including the kind that affects breast tissue. Back in 1988, the International Agency for Research on Cancer IDd alcohol as a carcinogen or a substance that causes cancer.

Weve known that alcohol is a major influence on cancer risk for a really long time, says Blair Washington, M.D., M.H.A., a physician editor at MCG Health and a clinical assistant professor of gynecology at the University of Washington. But, exactly how alcohol affects your risk for breast cancer isnt really understood, she adds.

Still, experts suspect there are several ways alcohol can cause harm to breast tissue:

Genetic Variation And Cancer Risk

How Does Alcohol Affect Breast Cancer Risk?

A study found that “the ADH1C*1 allele and genotype ADH1C*1/1 were significantly more frequent in patients with alcohol-related cancers⦔ A European study has found two gene variants which offer “significant” protection against mouth and throat cancers. Alcohol is a known porphyrinogenic chemical. Several European studies have linked the inherited hepatic porphyrias with a predisposition to hepatocellular carcinoma. Typical risk factors for HCC need not be present with the acute hepatic porphyrias, specifically acute intermittent porphyria, variegate porphyria and hereditary coproporphyria. Porphyria cutanea tarda is also associated with HCC, but with typical risk factors including evidence of hepatotropic viruses, hemochromatosis and alcoholic cirrhosis. Tyrosinemia Type I, an inherited disorder in tyrosine metabolism impacting the second enzyme in the heme metabolic pathway is associated with a high risk of developing HCC in younger populations, including children.

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What Else Increases Breast Cancer Risk

Our report found strong evidence that other lifestyle factors affect breast cancer risk too.

Exercise was also found to be important for preventing breast cancer. Vigorous exercise that works up a sweat such as cycling, swimming or running helps prevent pre-menopausal breast cancer and both moderate, such as brisk walking, and vigorous levels help prevent post-menopausal breast cancer.

If all women were a healthy weight around 16 per cent of cases of post-menopausal breast cancer in the UK could be prevented. This emphasises the need for policy makers around the world to take obesity prevention seriously, as post-menopausal breast cancer is responsible for more than half a million deaths worldwide each year.

What Do We Recommend

There are several things that women can do to help reduce their breast cancer risk. Arguably the most important of these is to avoid drinking alcohol, or reduce alcohol intake. With drinking alcohol being such an ingrained part of so many cultures worldwide, it is vital that we raise awareness of the link between alcohol and cancer. We also know that it increases the risk of a number of other cancers.

Maintaining a healthy weight and getting enough exercise are also important for preventing breast cancer. It may be the most common cancer in women worldwide, but our evidence shows that there are steps that women can take to significantly reduce their risk. If everyone were to follow our recommendations a substantial number of cases of breast cancer could be prevented worldwide each year.

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Is It Worse If I Drink And Smoke

Drinking alcohol is worse for you if you smoke. This is because tobacco and alcohol work together to cause much more damage to cells. This increases the risk of cancer.

For example, people who both smoke and drink alcohol are at a higher risk of mouth and upper throat cancer. This can happen because:

  • Alcohol may make it easier for harmful chemicals from tobacco smoke to pass through the mouth and throat into the bloodstream.
  • Alcohol may change how the toxic chemicals from tobacco smoke are broken down in the body, making them even more harmful.

Are There Any Health Benefits From Drinking Alcohol

Alcohol and breast cancer  how big is the risk?

You may have heard that drinking alcohol can be good for the heart. But the NHS alcohol guidelines say that the evidence is not clear and that there is no completely safe level of drinking. You should not drink alcohol for health benefits. The risk of cancer increases even drinking small amounts of alcohol.

For more information about alcohol and heart health visit the British Heart Foundations website.

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Why Does Alcohol Use Raise Cancer Risk

When you drink alcohol, your body breaks it down into a chemical called acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde damages your DNA and prevents your body from repairing the damage. DNA is the cells instruction manual that controls a cells normal growth and function. When DNA is damaged, a cell can begin growing out of control and create a cancer tumor.

Why Is Just One Drink So Dangerous

The more alcohol we drink, the greater our breast cancer risk is. However, its not just heavy drinkers who are at an increased risk even one drink can have an impact.

One explanation for this is that when we drink alcohol, it is converted into a toxic substance called acetaldehyde. The more we drink, the more toxic acetaldehyde builds up, which means more cancer-causing damage can be done to the cells. However, even a small amount of alcohol could cause some build up of toxic acetaldehyde, which could lead to cell damage, which is why even one drink increases your risk.

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Reducing Alcohol Harm In The Region

WHO recommends the following best-buy policies as cost-effective ways to reduce alcohol consumption levels and bring down the number of cancer cases caused by alcohol use:

  • making alcohol less affordable
  • banning or restricting alcohol marketing across all types of media
  • reducing alcohol availability .

WHO also strongly recommends that all countries of the Region place health warnings on the labels of alcoholic beverages so consumers can easily make a good decision while choosing what to drink.

The WHO European Programme of Work 20202025 and WHO/Europes United Action Against Cancer initiative aim to eliminate cancer as a life-threatening disease in the Region and beyond.

What’s Been The Reaction To This Report

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

Cancer experts say the findings don’t tell us anything new about the link between alcohol and breast cancer, which is already well known.

But if you can, to stack the odds in your favour, they say it is a good idea to have some alcohol-free days during every week and not to increase your drinking.

However, Cancer Research UK says there is no need be alarmed and “go teetotal”.

It is also important to look at the bigger picture.

Drinking alcohol has a greater effect on the risks of several other cancers – including mouth, liver and bowel – than it does on breast cancer, so there is no reason to become fixated on alcohol.

Kevin McConway, emeritus professor of applied statistics at the Open University, says the risks have “to be set against whatever pleasure women might obtain from their drinking”.

The report does not provide absolute risks and as such, Prof Sir David Spiegelhalter, from the University of Cambridge, said it did not seem a good basis for recommending that women give up alcohol completely.

However, Dr Anne McTiernan, lead report author and cancer expert at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, said the evidence regarding breast cancer was clear.

“Having a physically active lifestyle, maintaining a healthy weight throughout life and limiting alcohol are all steps women can take to lower their risk.”

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Nutritional Ketosis In Cancer Treatment

In this video, Travis Christofferson, explains how nutritional ketosis can prevent and treat many types of cancers.

According to the conventional teaching, nuclear genetic defects do not lead to cancer. However, its the mitochondrial damage that happens first and further on it triggers nuclear genetic mutations.

For this condition, the nutritional ketosis is the right solution. It includes a diet rich in high-quality fats and limits the intake of net carbs thus boosting mitochondrial function. In this way, fats burn more easily, and this is much better fuel than sugar itself.

When it comes to the question does drinking alcohol cause cancer, the answer is definitely yes! However, there are some natural ways such as natural ketosis that can significantly help in its treatment.

Reasons Why Alcohol Increases Cancer Risk

Researchers are still trying to discover why alcohol increases cancer risk. Here are some possibilities:

  • The increased risk may be related to 2 chemicals that can damage the DNA of healthy cells:

  • Ethanol, which is the primary part of alcoholic beverages

  • Acetaldehyde, which is made when alcohol is digested by the body

  • Alcohol may affect the breakdown of the hormone estrogen, which increases the amount of estrogen in the blood. Having more estrogen in the body than usual is a risk factor for breast, ovarian, and uterine cancers. This is a particular concern for women before menopause and women taking menopausal hormone therapy.

  • Drinking alcohol may weaken the bodys ability to process and absorb important nutrients, including:

  • Vitamin A

  • Alcohol can cause weight gain, which also increases cancer risk.

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How You Can Help To Reduce Your Alcohol Intake

  • Measure your current level of drinking using the drinks calculator on
  • Try keeping track of what youre drinking with a drinks diary note how much you drink, when, and how you felt afterwards.
  • Stay within the weekly guidelines for low risk drinking
  • If drinking at home, use a drinks measure to calculate how much you are pouring.
  • Buy smaller wine glasses, as it will make it easier to drink less and keep track of how much youre drinking. A big wine glass can hold two standard drinks or more.
  • Dont get involved in rounds. This means you can drink at your own pace and stay more in control when youre out.
  • Do something else! Try and think of ways to spend time with friends that dont have to involve drinking.

What Are The Effects Of Alcohol On Cancer

Alcohol and breast cancer  how big is the risk?

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer, drinking alcohol may be harmful.1 Continuing to drink alcohol has been linked to a reduction in survival rates for certain types of cancer such as the upper gastrointestinal tract and liver.1 In these types of cancer, heavy drinking may increase the risk of cancerous tumors doubling in size or spreading to other areas of the body .1

Excessive drinking in women with breast cancer has also been linked to negative outcomes.11 Additionally, continuing to drink alcohol can put women with breast cancer at increased risk of getting another type of cancer.2

If you are receiving chemotherapy to treat cancer, you should discuss any alcohol use with your doctor. Abstaining from alcohol while receiving cancer treatment is typically the best option.6 Chemotherapy has several difficult side effects and alcohol can make these issues worse.2 Common side effects can include diarrhea, dry mouth, and mouth sores, all of which are worsened by drinking alcohol.2, 12 Exacerbating these issues can make treatment even more difficult than it has to be.

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Effect Of Alcohol On The Progress Of Cancer When Established

A study of the influence of alcohol intake on tumor growth of hepatocellular carcinoma in patients with type C cirrhosis, found that alcohol influenced tumor volume doubling time .

A study of chick embryos suggests that alcohol stimulates their tumor growth by fueling the production of a growth factor that stimulates blood vessel development in tumors. A 2006 study in mice showed moderate drinking resulted in larger and stronger tumors via a process known as angiogenesis.

A study where high amounts of alcohol were given to mice suggests that it accelerates their cancer growth by speeding up the loss of body fat and depressing immune activity.


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