Alcohol causes Breast Cancers - Is it True ?

  • by Research Desk
  • 13 October 2017 12:37
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For years, a seemingly endless march of studies has pronounced that moderate consumption of alcohol could be beneficial for heart health. If you like a glass of wine with dinner, you’ve probably welcomed this news. But if you have other risk factors for breast cancer, you might want to scale back on your alcohol consumption.

Alcohol and the Heart

According to the Mayo Clinic, some of the studies suggesting that alcohol has heart-protective properties have focused on the potential health benefits of compounds in red wine called flavonoids, which are antioxidants that have been linked with reduced inflammation in the body and other health benefits that can reduce your chances of developing heart disease. Other studies have noted that a substance called resveratrol could be at work, and that moderate intake of alcohol can lead to a small increase in HDL cholesterol – that’s the good kind – and anti-clotting properties that can also be beneficial to heart health.

Therefore, some researchers and doctors have offered that drinking in moderation could be good for you. The American Heart Association defines drinking in moderation as one to two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women. A drink is measured as about 10 grams of alcohol, which translates to one 12-ounce beer, four ounces of wine, 1.5 ounces of 80-proof spirits or 1 ounce of 100-proof spirits.

However, despite the fanfare surrounding some studies, the data on potential health benefits of alcohol is still mixed. The American Heart Association “does not recommend drinking wine or any other form of alcohol to gain these potential benefits, ” but it does recommend lowering your cholesterol and high blood pressure, getting plenty of physical activity, eating a healthy diet and controlling your weight.

Alcohol and Breast Cancer Risk

These health guidelines are similar to those offered by the American Cancer Society for helping to reduce your risk of cancer, which says limiting alcohol intake lowers the risk of developing breast cancer. “Even a few drinks a week is linked with an increased risk of breast cancer in women,” the ACS reports. “This risk may be especially high in women who do not get enough folate (a B vitamin) in their diet or through supplements. Alcohol can also raise estrogen levels in the body, which may explain some of the increased risk. Cutting back on alcohol may be an important way for many women to lower their risk of breast cancer.”

Dr. Melissa Pilewskie, a breast surgeon oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, says “what we know from the data is that there is a low to moderate risk association with alcohol consumption and breast cancer risk.” She says women who drink one or more alcoholic drinks per day have a greater risk of developing breast cancer than women who don’t drink or drink just one drink per day. “Basically,” Pilewskie says, “women who don’t drink or have an occasional drink, there doesn’t seem to be an increased risk. But for those who drink more than, on average, one drink per day, we do see an increase in breast cancer risk.”

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