As breast cancer awareness month comes to a close this week, millions of pink-ribbon-wearing college-age women will binge for Halloween festivities and many women in the stands of football stadiums countrywide will toast pink-clad NFLers with a beer or two. What few will realize is that there’s an established link between breast cancer and alcohol use. Alcohol consumption is the only dietary factor proven to increase the chance for developing the disease… not the disease of Alcoholism but the disease of breast cancer.
That’s not to say women who don’t drink don’t get breast cancer, but those who do drink, and those who binge or drink regularly, are more susceptible. Women who consumed even “modest” alcohol (equivalent to 3-6 glasses of wine per week) were linked with a 15 percent increase of developing the disease. They also found that the increased risk of breast cancer for those who drank at least 30 grams of alcohol per day on average (at least 2 drinks daily) was 51 percent higher compared to women who never drank alcohol.I
In addition, when the researchers looked at alcohol consumption levels between the ages 18 to 40 and after the age of 40, they discovered that both were strongly linked with an increased risk of breast cancer. The connection with alcohol consumption still remained even after controlling reducing or quitting alcohol consumption after the age of 40.
Examiner.com stories have shown over the last few weeks that one in eight women will have an encounter with breast cancer. According to findings recently reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), breast cancer risks increase 10 percent for every 10 grams of alcohol consumed daily. That is one drink. The finding supports studies dating back as far as the 1970s that demonstrate how alcohol use is a cancer risk factor, and more so in women than in men.
One of the most significant, and obvious, ways of reducing the risk of breast cancer is to eliminate or moderate how much we drink. If it is the only dietary connection that’s been made to the increased risk of breast cancer, it’s worth evaluating how much or how often alcohol plays into celebrations like Halloween or NFL Sundays.