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One Glass of Alcohol a Day Increases Breast Cancer Risk in Women

It seems that there are new studies out everyday that vacillate between confirming and denying health benefits related to moderate amounts of alcohol consumption. Often the research that supports a glass or two a day do so because of the supposed heart health benefits. However, in addition to scientific evidence linking alcohol to

stomach, liver, and colon cancers, a review of research published in the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism serves as a reminder that women need to be careful with the amount of alcohol they consume on a regular basis – it may have a negative impact on their chances for developing breast cancer.

The statistics currently show that roughly one in eight women will receive a diagnosis of breast cancer at some point in their lives. With an average of one drink a day, that chance increases by a modest 5 percent. Once the average climbs to three alcoholic beverages in a day, the women’s risk skyrockets by 50 percent. The researchers presently attribute 50,000 cases of breast cancer to repeated heavy alcohol consumption.

How Does Alcohol Lead to the Development of Breast Cancer?

In the female population, alcohol is linked with increased levels of estrogen circulating throughout the body. Particular types of breast cancers have receptors on their cells that respond positively to the presence of estrogen. The more of this hormone that is available, the faster the cancer can grow.

Doctors Advise Women to Err on the Side of Caution When it Comes to Alcohol

Physicians have developed guidelines for women’s overall wellness. They tell individuals who don’t drink alcohol that there is no compelling evidence to start now. However, for those people who enjoy an occasional alcoholic beverage, doctors emphasize that moderation is key. Medical professionals advise female patients that one alcoholic beverage a day is the limit before they start seeing a dramatic rise in the risk of cancers.

These guidelines are just for the general population. Women with a family history of breast cancer should be even more conservative in their consumption of alcohol.

What is One Drink?

Everyone’s idea of what constitutes “one drink” varies widely. In some establishments, you may receive mixed drinks in a glass that holds the equivalent of four or five alcoholic beverages. In order to get everyone on the same page, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism report the following definitions for a standard size


· 5 ounce glass of wine

· 1.5 ounce of 80-proof distilled spirits

· 12 ounce bottle of wine cooler or beer

What do you think of the standard guidelines for women’s alcohol consumption? Do you think the average woman stays within these boundaries or are most women you know drinking more than this?

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