Breast Cancer Risk with Alcohol Consumption

Breast Cancer Risk with Alcohol Consumption

In it’s recent “e-news” mailing, the Susan G. Komen foundation brought to the public’s attention the increased risk for breast cancer in women who drink alcohol. Many of us at The Recovery Place have personal experiences with breast cancer, and many live with loved ones who are battling the disease. We believe that anyone who has seen the insidious effects of breast cancer would want to insure that their loved ones take every reasonable precaution to prevent the disease or its spread. We are all too familiar with the other harmful and life threatening effects that alcohol addiction can have on someone.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines excessive drinking as more more than one alcoholic drink a day for women, and more than two alcoholic drinks a day for men. Per the CDC,  “over time, excessive alcohol use can lead to the development of chronic diseases, neurological impairments and social problems.”

The CDC lists the risks of excessive alcohol drinking as:

  • Neurological problems, including dementia, stroke and neuropathy.
  • Cardiovascular problems, including myocardial infarction, cardiomyopathy, atrial fibrillation and hypertension.
  • Psychiatric problems, including depression, anxiety, and suicide. Social problems, including unemployment, lost productivity, and family problems.
  • Cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, colon, and breast. In general, the risk of cancer increases with increasing amounts of alcohol.
  • Liver diseases, including— Alcoholic hepatitis. Cirrhosis, which is among the 15 leading causes of all deaths in the United States.

For women, “Having even just a few alcoholic drinks each week appears to modestly increase the risk of breast cancer.” The numbers in the research are frightening, as the risk of breast cancer was 20% higher for women who drank two to three alcoholic drinks a day than for women who didn’t drink alcohol. that’s a fairly high increase in breast cancer risk, and one we believe most women would not want to take.

While the exact cause and effect between drinking and increased breast cancer in women is not precisely defined, what is known is that alcohol is very high in calories and very low in nutrients. Drinking can lead to weight gain, and excess weight is a cancer risk. In addition “heavier women have higher levels of blood estrogen and higher levels of estrogen are linked to an increase risk of breast cancer.”

We urge our female clients and friends to consider this as one more reason why they should not consume alcohol, in any amount.

We also are pleased to recommend that you support the work of the Susan G. Komen foundation. You can read more about it and donate through their website.

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