Alcohol Consumption Linked to Increased Breast Cancer Risk

DSC03139.jpgHot off the wire … in a large study conducted at the National Cancer Institute, post-menopausal women who had 1-2 small drinks per day — regardless of the type of alcohol — were found to be 32 percent more likely to develop a hormone sensitive tumor. Three or more drinks raised that risk to 51 percent. YIKES!

Seems alcohol interferes with the body’s metabolism of estrogen — and subsequently raises the risk of breast cancer.

Let me tell you, this type of study really messes with me. I’m a wine lover. I’d have a glass or two every single night if I didn’t need to watch my weight (it’s not the wine’s caloric content I worry about, it’s the calories I add to my diet when I drink). I also don’t have an addictive personality, so I can take it or leave it. I do drink when I want to take the edge off at the end of a long day or at a celebration. But I go many days without a drop …

But I hate thinking about those young adult days of excessive drinking with my friends. I hate thinking about those alcoholic splurges I’ve been prone to go on during the summer or while on vacation. Poolside margaritas. Holiday Mimosas.

What’s the lesson for me in this news today, since I can’t undo the past (nor can you!) and don’t want to regret the way I’ve lived because I’ve had a darn good time …

Moderation. Days of abstinence. Being aware that what I drink, much like what I eat, influences my metabolism. Being aware that while I didn’t cause my body to develop cancerous cells, my bad habits might not have helped my body prevent their development.

How do you interpret these findings?

(Image: Karen Lynch)

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    • Mark

      “How do you interpret these findings?”

      Well, first things first – it says the study was of ‘post-menopausal” women. That refines the stats a LOT!

      Secondly, it also says a whole mouthful for those who DO have a problem with alcohol…

    • Alicia Sparks, NAMI Affiliation Leader

      I was just getting ready to send you this article! Good thing I poked around a bit first to find that you’d already seen it ;)

    • Karen Lynch

      Mark, I’m so glad to see your comment here.

      There are so many reasons for people to adopt a healthier lifestyle and for some people in particular to curtail their drinking — this is just another one to add to the list, huh?

    • Karen Lynch

      Alicia, thanks for thinking of me!

    • sarah

      Yeah, the drinking thing gets me too. And I too notice that it is of POST-menopausal women and have never been able to find pre-menopausal specific studies on this.

      Anyhow, I’ve never even been a heavy drinker, but like most of us I had my days of lots of beer in university – most not so long ago when I began grad school in Belgium. But oh well, my older sisters had those days too and they never got cancer so…I refuse to torture myself about it. Like you I’ll just have to remember how fun those days were! And enjoy the few occasions I indulge these days all the more for it.