Does alcohol make tumors and metastases grow faster, larger?


Question from Conner: SABCS has reported that alcohol usage increases breast cancer recurrence. What about AFTER the breast cancer has returned? Does it make subsequent tumors and/or metastases grow faster or larger?
Answers - Kathy D. Miller, M.D. The study that you mentioned looked at a large database of women who had been previously diagnosed and treated for breast cancer and compared the risk of recurrence in women based on their use of alcohol. They found a higher risk of recurrence in women who regularly drank more than seven to eight drinks a week compared to women who didn't use alcohol at all. Their study didn't include women who had already had a recurrence to see if it might alter their prognosis. The results of this study are very similar to previous studies, which had shown that consistent use of alcohol has a slight increase in the risk of developing breast cancer. For my patients with metastatic disease, I don't worry about them having an occasional glass of wine or alcoholic drink, but I do worry about regular daily use of alcohol.

On Tuesday, December 15, 2009, our Ask-the-Expert Online Conference was called Updates from the 2009 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. Kathy Miller, M.D. and Kristin Brill, M.D., F.A.C.S. answered your questions about the latest updates on breast cancer risk, screening techniques, treatment options, 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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