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Friend or Foe? Alcohol Consumption vs Our Health

Posted Nov 10 2011 3:01am
While I have not read how/why heavyweight boxing champion & Olympic gold medalist Smokin' Joe Frazier developed liver cancer , I noted two days ago that alcohol is involved in approximately 1 out of ever 5 cases of primary liver cancer.  In fact, just last week, a prospective observational study was published in JAMA concluding that alcohol consumption is associated with a small increase risk of breast cancer.

To arrive at their conclusion, the authors followed 105,986 women average 60yo of the Nurses' Health Study for 28yrs while assessing alcohol consumption 8 times over this duration.  What's disconcerting is that alcohol consumption as low as 3-6 drinks/wk was enough to increase the risk of breast cancer, as was binge drinking and early & late adult life consumption.
But as pointed out in the accompanying editorial , how do we balance the benefit against cardiovascular disease versus the risk of cancer?  As yet, we have no means to determine the proper amount & duration of alcohol consumption.  This is one of those times when we need to review our family history as well as take control of our own health while considering the above with our family physicians.
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