The results of a study confirm earlier findings: drinking alcoholic beverages can increase breast cancer risk. This large study (more than 70,000 women followed for 20 or more years) also addressed some specific questions about the role of alcohol in breast cancer risk:
- How much alcohol is too much? This study found that risk was higher in women who drank more than 1 alcoholic beverage per day, compared to women who drank less than 1 alcoholic beverage per day.
- Does risk increase as a woman drinks more alcohol? In this research, the answer was yes. Women who drank between 1 and 2 alcoholic beverages per day had a 10% greater risk of breast cancer compared to women who drank less than 1 alcoholic beverage per day. Women who drank more than 3 alcoholic beverages per day had a 30% increase in risk.
- Does the type of alcoholic beverage matter? According to this research, it did not.
Researchers are still trying to understand exactly HOW alcohol affects breast cancer risk. If you're interested in doing all you can to lower your risk of breast cancer or breast cancer recurrence, limiting your alcohol consumption makes good sense. If you do enjoy alcoholic beverages and plan to continue using them, try to have fewer than 5 alcoholic drinks a week.
To learn more about the steps you can take to lower your risk, visit the breastcancer.org Lower Your Risk section.