Do estrogen-receptor-positives really have to give up wine?


Question from Sharon: Please, please address this for those of us who are estrogen receptive, after 5 years of organic eating, and on Arimidex, do we really, really have to not have our wonderful glass of wine at night? Or every night? Ugh. Have given up everything else... no red meat, etc.
Answers - Nicholas Robert, M.D. There is a concern about the use of alcohol intake and the risk for breast cancer. As a matter of fact, a recent study suggested women should avoid alcohol altogether. My interpretation is that the use of alcohol should be moderate at best. That translates into a glass of wine, for example, with dinner. There is an interesting observation that was made by the Harvard School of Public Health in their studies, where they found that the association between alcohol and breast cancer was reduced by taking folic acid. However, for other health reasons, the use of alcohol (even that good glass of wine) should be tempered by moderation.
Beth Baughman DuPree, M.D., F.A.C.S. Postmenopausal women in particular who drink 2-3 glasses of alcohol per day increase their risk of developing breast cancer by approximately 40%. Women who drink half a glass of wine a day increase their risk of breast cancer by approximately 6%. We know there is an association and as with everything in life there are risks and benefits. Many of my patients feel as though they have to give up several things in their life through the process of adequately treating their breast cancer. I feel we need to create balance in our lives and a glass or two of wine per week is most likely not going to significantly change someone's risk of a new or recurrent breast cancer. But I don't believe that women, especially with estrogen-driven breast cancers, should be drinking significant amounts of alcohol on a daily basis. As for the folic acid study, I've had several patients return to my office and ask if they could increase their alcohol consumption if they're willing to take folic acid. I said it was promising, but that I would still recommend moderation.

On Wednesday, June 24, 2009, our Ask-the-Expert Online Conference was called Updates from the ASCO Annual Meeting. Nick Robert, M.D. and Beth Baughman Dupree, M.D., F.A.C.S. answered your questions about the newest findings on risk, screening, treatment, and more.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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