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Alcohol Consumption Increases Risk of Breast Cancer Subtypes

Posted Sep 15 2010 7:15am
As I have mentioned in previous blogs, alcohol consumption increases breast cancer risk .  This is true for even small amounts of alcohol consumption, which in contrast has been reported to have heart health benefits.  However, it is less clear whether alcohol consumption effects the risk for different forms of breast cancer differently.

A new breast cancer research study examined the impact of alcohol consumption on overall invasive breast cancer risk as well as the risk for invasive lobular carcinoma and invasive ductal carcinoma.  For this study, breast cancer researchers collected information gathered from over 87,000 postmenopausal women who took part in the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study and assessed the relationship between alcohol consumption and breast cancer incidence (nearly 3,000 breast cancer patients were diagnosed during follow up).  The study investigators reported
  • Alcohol consumption was positively linked to overall breast cancer risk, risk for invasive lobular carcinoma, and hormone receptor-positive breast cancer risk.
  • Consuming alcohol was more strongly linked to hormone receptor-positive breast cancers than hormone receptor-negative breast cancers.
  • Postmenopausal women who drank 7 or more alcoholic drinks per week were nearly twice as likely to develop hormone receptor-positive lobular carcinoma compared to postmenopausal women who did not consume any alcohol.
  • Consuming at least one alcoholic beverage per day was also associated with a smaller (about 14%) increase in hormone receptor-positive invasive ductal carcinoma compared to not consuming alcohol.
Overall, this study continues to confirm that even consumption of small to moderate amounts of alcohol increases overall breast cancer risk.  However, this new breast cancer study suggests that alcohol consumption is linked more strongly to hormone receptor-positive breast cancers and invasive lobular breast cancers.   Alcohol consumption is one of several lifestyle factors that increase breast cancer risk .  Avoiding or minimizing alcohol consumption is clearly one way to effectively reduce breast cancer risk. 

To learn about other diet and lifestyle choices you can make to reduce your personal breast cancer risk, read my FREE book Fight Now: Eat & Live Proactively Against Breast Cancer .
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