Alcohol Drinking Increases Risk For Breast Cancer

Armen Hareyan's picture
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Alcohol consumption increases risk for developing breast cancer later in life.

National Cancer Institute study examined about 184000 postmenopausal women during 7 years and found that even a small amount of alcohol drunk in earlier years leads to breast cancer. This is study is the biggest among 3 studies linking alcohol to breast cancer risk. This is the first ever study giving hypothesis on how the linking mechanism works.

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"For years, we've known that there's an association between alcohol drinking and breast cancer risk, but nobody knows yet what the underlying biological mechanisms are," said Dr. Catalin Marian from Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. "The logical step was to begin analyzing the alcohol metabolizing genes."

Researchers decided to look into the genes associated with alcohol metabolism. They examined two genes - ADH1B and ADH1C - and found that alcohol interferes with estrogen metabolism and mostly increases the risk for developing breast cancer.

Women having less than 1 small drink a day had 7% increased chance for developing breast cancer, those taking from 1 to 2 small drinks had 32% increased risk, those taking more than 2 had 51%. About 70% of all breast cancer diagnosed women had hormone-sensitive tumors, such as estrogen-receptor and progesterone-receptor positive breast cancers.

Study doesn't yet give exact figures showing the effect of alcohol on breast cancer risk, but researchers highly recommend all women to think about changing their lifestyles and talking to doctors about breast cancer risk factors.

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