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Study: Breast Cancer Risk Increases with Each Drink among Women

Woman drinking beer Cause for Concern 

Tax season is now past, but this time of year always reminds me of one of Benjamin Franklin’s many popular proverbs, the guarantee that everyone in life would go through two things: death and taxes.

While death and taxes are undeniable, when it comes to our mortality, we can all make choices that put off the inevitable (not so with taxes, unfortunately). 

In 2000, 18 percent of the deaths in the United States were attributable to tobacco and 4 percent were attributable to alcohol.  The grim statistics are similar in the United Kingdom.  Smoking cigarettes is the leading cause of preventable death in the UK, and in 2006, 13.4 deaths out of 100,000 were alcohol related – a rate that nearly doubles the 1991 alcohol-related death rate.

If this weren’t enough, a new study presented at the European Cancer Conference in Barcelona, Spain indicates that consuming three or more alcoholic beverages a day can increase a woman’s chance of getting breast cancer as much as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day does.

The study involved approximately 70,000 women from various ethnic backgrounds, all living in the United States, tracing their medical history for 20+ years.  By 2004, more than 2,800 of the participating women were diagnosed with some form of breast cancer.  The revealing aspect of these diagnoses, though, was looking at their daily habits.  What the researchers found was that women who consumed three or more alcoholic drinks daily – whether those drinks were beer, wine or liquor – were 30 percent more likely to contract breast cancer than women who drank one or two.  Those women had a 10 percent higher risk.

The researchers don’t dispute the health benefits red wine has with regard to cardiovascular disease, but can understand how some might find the dichotomy of findings troublesome.  They speculate that the cardiovascular benefit of red wine has more to do with what characterizes the social drinker, i.e. those that consume alcohol sparingly or in moderate amounts.

The researchers aren’t calling for women to abandon alcohol altogether.  By and large, according to the statistics, women drink alcohol less frequently than men, and death as a result of alcohol is higher in men than it is in women.  Nevertheless, alcohol-related death rates among women has more than doubled since 1991 – going from 7.2 to 14.8 per 100,000 – in the 35 to 54 age bracket.  As such, these kinds of statistics, in combination with the researchers’ findings, ought to lend a renewed sense of importance to a phrase we all know but perhaps haven’t always lived by:  please drink responsibly.

Related Posts

  1. Women Who Breastfeed Reduce Their Risk of Breast Cancer, Study Shows
  2. Low Fat Diet Reduces Breast Cancer Relapse in Women, Study Suggests
  3. Yoga Provides Benefits To Women With Breast Cancer, Study Concludes
  4. Study: Among Obese, Cancer Risk Increases
  5. A High Fiber Diet Can Slash the Risk of Breast Cancer, Study Finds
  


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