New Study Links Alcohol to Breast Cancer Risk
by Masha Vodyanik, age 14
A study that followed approximately 100,000 nurses for up to 30 years demonstrates that women who consume three or more alcohol drinks per week show an elevated risk of breast cancer. This new research finds a link between drinking and breast cancer that is not necessarily causal; it is only correlational. No conclusive proof supports the notion that drinking causes breast cancer.
However, women who have three to six drinks a week have a 15 percent higher chance of developing breast cancer. The risk increases 10 percent for every 10 grams of alcohol consumed daily. That is equal to about one 12-ounce bottle of beer, a 4-ounce glass of wine, or a shot of liquor.
Researchers conducting the study took many variables into consideration. After looking at family history, age of menstruation and menopause, weight, and smoking habits, they still found a link between the consumption of alcohol and breast cancer.
Because the relationship between alcohol use and breast cancer is only an association and not a casual link, the results of the study may point to other reasons moderate drinkers show a higher risk. People who drink may also be less active or have less healthy diets, according to Susan Love – an expert who runs a Santa Monica, California-based research center.
The study does not suggest that women can avoid getting breast cancer by staying away from alcohol. Previous research has suggested that drinking moderate amounts of red wine may protect against heart disease. In light of this, the study recommends that women’s decisions to limit alcohol should be based on their personal risk factors and health background, as well as concern of getting breast cancer.
Dr. Wendy Y. Chen does not advise her patients stop drinking, but limit their consumption to only a few drinks a week. Although the evidence of a connection between breast cancer and alcohol is not conclusive, many health experts suggest that women limit consumption.
[Source: Los Angeles Times]