Alcohol Consumption Linked to Increased Risk Of Breast Cancer

While a glass of red wine each night may help with stress relief and heart disease, a new study suggests that you  should think twice before refilling your glass.

According to the results of an experiment by Dr. Wendy Y. Chen, consumption of 3-6 alcoholic drinks is now linked to an increase in the risk of breast cancer.

In order to make this conclusion, Chen followed 105,986 women from 1980 to 2008 with early adult alcohol assessments.  The study was conducted at Brigham’s Women’s Hopsital and Harvard Medical School, and tracked the effects of small amounts of alcohol over a long period of time, a tactic that had not been used in previous studies.

The conclusion? A link between drinks/day and increased risk of breast cancer.  More specifically, drinking 3-6 glasses of wine per week was associated with a 15% increased risk of the cancer, while drinking at least 2 drinks per day showed a considerable 51% increased risk, compared with non-drinkers. 

With the alarming new evidence, a debate over whether or not to drink or not drink, and/or how much is still deemed “healthy” arises.

Not to worry, Dr. Wendy Y. Chen assures us that we can still get our drink on.

“We’re not recommending that women stop drinking altogether.  For an individual woman to make the best decision it would depend on what her own breast cancer risk factors are, as well as her cardiovascular risk factors. “

In addition, it’s important to note that the association was largely based on observational studies, which fail to show direct cause and effect relationships.  However, this fact does not discount Chen’s conclusion.

The Wall Street Journal suggests that enough evidence exists to illicit caution.

“The sheer volume of such studies—going back decades and including tens of millions of participants—provides compelling evidence that alcohol is causing additional cancers, particularly of the head and neck, liver, colon and breast, epidemiologists say.”

That being said, sage advice would be to watch the wine in order to avoid dire consequences later on.

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One thought on “Alcohol Consumption Linked to Increased Risk Of Breast Cancer

  1. how come the incidence of breast cancer is not much higher in cultures that consume much more alcohol? certainly france,italy, spain and russia should be compared to USA women!

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