New Study Supports Link Between Drinking And Breast Cancer Risk

By May Wilkerson 10/30/15

Despite an increased risk, is there a direct cause and effect?

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A new study supports past research suggesting drinking may put women at a higher risk of developing breast cancer. Researchers from five universities in Spain examined data on more than 334,000 women aged 35 to 70 from 10 European countries, 12,000 of whom developed breast cancer during the study period.

They found that the participants’ risk of breast cancer quadrupled with each daily glass of wine or beer they consumed. "A daily intake of one glass of wine or beer—or less—would correspond to a risk value of 1,” said study co-author Maria Dolores Chirlaque. “However, if we increase our intake to two daily glasses of wine or beer, our risk would rise by 4%." And the more they drank, the greater their risk of developing the disease, she added.

However, though the study shows an association between drinking and breast cancer, it doesn’t necessarily prove cause-and-effect. Also, there are other factors which can put women at risk, researchers found, such as their age and how many years they've been drinking. Women who drank for a longer time were at a higher risk, especially if they started drinking before their first pregnancy.

Chirlaque said the link between alcohol and breast cancer is likely due to "non-hormonal causes that need to be further investigated.”

The good news is that drinking is a factor that women can control, which is why it’s important to be aware. "Alcohol intake is a breast cancer risk factor that can be changed by a personal decision to form healthy habits," said Chirlaque. "Women must be advised and forewarned of the possibility they have to control this factor."

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May Wilkerson is a writer, comic and Managing Editor @someecards. Co-host of the podcast Crazy; In Bed w/ @alyssalimp. She is also the top Google result for "insufferable lunatic." Follow this insufferable lunatic on Twitter.

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