Add alcohol consumption to the other known risk factors for breast cancer such as obesity, age, race and genetics. A newly released study indicates that all types of alcohol add equally to the risk of developing breast cancer. Wine is no better a choice than beer or spirits. Researchers say the risk is tied to the amount of alcohol consumed, not the type.
The risk rises exponentially according to how much alcohol is consumed on a daily basis, the research shows. Women who had one or two drinks a day increased their risk of developing breast cancer by 10 percent. Those who consumed more than three drinks a day had an increased risk of 30 percent.
Boosting one's risk of developing any disease by nearly one-third is significant. This research speaks to the good sense of women who abstain from alcohol or strictly limit its consumption. While some medical research suggests drinking moderate amounts of red wine protects against heart disease, subsequent studies indicate that people who drink grape juice experience the same benefits, sans alcohol. Seemingly, the grapes extend the benefit, not the wine.
This new analysis, in which Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program researchers in Oakland, Calif., reviewed the drinking habits of more than 70,000 women, cannot be viewed as the end all. Women need to undergo annual mammograms after age 40 and conduct self-exams each month starting at age 20, according to the recommendations of Komen for the Cure Web site. Women with higher risk factors such as a strong family history of breast cancer, a personal history of breast cancer or radiation treatment to the chest area during childhood or young adulthood should consult with their healthcare providers.
Healthy habits can clearly help the risk of developing breast cancer but the role of early detection is, perhaps, just as significant. When detected early, breast cancer, can be treated more readily and more successfully. Women need to be diligent in both respects.