Understanding Breast Cancer Risk Factors: Alcohol Use

No one should drink a lot of alcohol. Drinking more than one drink per day (for women) and more than two drinks per day (for men) has no health benefits and many serious health risks, including breast cancer. Many studies show that drinking alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer.  A pooled analysis of data from 53 studies found for each alcoholic drink consumed per day, the relative risk of breast cancer increased by about seven percent.

Research shows that women who had two to three alcoholic drinks per day had a 20 percent higher risk of breast cancer compared to women who didn’t drink alcohol.

Estrogen levels are higher in women who drink alcohol than in non-drinkers, which may increase the risk of breast cancer.

Drinking alcohol can reduce blood levels of the vitamin folic acid. Folic acid plays a role in copying and repairing DNA.  Low levels of folic acid may make it more likely that errors occur when cells divide, which can cause cells to become cancerous. Such errors can lead cells down a pathway to become cancer.

However, drinking in moderation has some health benefits like lowering the risks of heart disease, high blood pressure and death. It is important to note that drinking excessive alcohol has no health benefits, only health risks.

Learn more: http://ww5.komen.org/BreastCancer/DrinkingAlcohol.html

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