According to an article recently published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, even moderate alcohol consumption can increase the risk of developing breast cancer.
Breast cancer is diagnosed in approximately 200,000 women annually in the United States alone. Because recent research has indicated that diet and exercise may contribute significantly to the risk of developing breast cancer, researchers continue to evaluate these and other environmental for an association with an increased risk of this disease. With an understanding of such risks, individuals may choose to alter their lifestyle, and those who are considered to be at a high risk of developing breast cancer may be encouraged to undergo screening for early detection of the disease.
Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School recently evaluated data determine if a potential association exists between alcohol consumption and risk of breast cancer. Data included nearly 39,000 women who were involved in the Women’s Health Study between 1992 and 2004. The average follow-up was 10 years.
- Women who drank 30 grams or greater of alcohol per day were at a moderately increased risk of developing breast cancer.
- Alcohol consumption was only associated with an increased risk of developing estrogen- and progesterone-positive breast cancers.
- It was suggested that the risk of breast cancer associated with alcohol consumption was increased among women taking postmenopausal hormones.
The researchers concluded that alcohol consumption, even in moderate amounts, appears to increase the risk of developing breast cancer. Women who consume large amounts of alcohol may wish to speak with their physician regarding screening for breast cancer.
Reference: Zhang S, Lee I-M, Manson J, et al. Alcohol consumption and breast cancer risk in the women’s health study. American Journal of Epidemiology. 2007; 165: 667-676.
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