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Alcohol Consumption and Increased Risk of Breast Cancer

Posted on the 01 April 2012 by Jean Campbell

alcoholFor some time now, alcohol consumption has been identified as a risk factor for several cancers including: Mouth, Throat (pharynx), Voice box (larynx), Esophagus, Liver, Colon and Rectum.

More recently Breast cancer has joined that list of cancers affected by alcohol consumption. A new review of existing research finds that even one alcoholic drink a day can increase a woman’s risk of breast cancer by five (5) percent.

Researchers from Germany, France and Italy have reported that heavy drinking, which is considered to be three or more drinks a day, may push that breast cancer risk upward by 50%.

Study authors concluded that alcohol consumption is casually related to breast cancer. They came to this conclusion after reviewing 113 prior studies. They attributed two percent of breast cancer cases in Europe and North America to light drinking alone, and about 50,000 cases, worldwide, to heavy drinking.

Study authors warned that women at increased risk for breast cancer should avoid alcohol or consume alcohol only occasionally.

The research study leader Dr. Helmut Seitz, professor of medicine, gastroenterology and alcohol research at the University of Heidelberg in Germany stated findings suggest that healthy women at average risk of breast cancer should not consume more than one alcoholic drink a day.

It is thought that alcohol increases estrogen levels, and, in turn, might increase the risk of breast cancer. A number of studies discovered that alcohol is linked to cancers known as estrogen receptor positive, that is breast cancers that need estrogen to grow.

The team’s research took into consideration other factors that might impact on risk, such as obesity.

The review was published March 29 in the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism: Epidemiology and Pathophysiology of Alcohol and Breast Cancer: Update 2012, by: Helmut K. Seitz, Claudio Pelucchi, Vincenzo Bagnardi, and Carlo La Vecchia

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