How does alcohol consumption affect my risk for breast cancer?

Gaston Vergara, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
We know that alcohol in general can increase the risk of most cancers, and alcohol has been associated with an increased breast cancer risk in a fair amount of studies. So for women, drinking more than 5 oz of wine a night can be pretty significant to their health. While wine for the most part is okay in moderation, drinking too much or binge drinking creates a cumulative risk of breast cancer or cancer in general.
Alcohol consumption increases the risk for breast cancer. The more alcohol is consumed, the more the risk increases. This is for several reasons. First, alcohol damages the DNA in cells, making the likelihood of cancer greater. Further, alcohol consumption increases estrogen levels, which increases the risk for certain types of breast cancer.
Ajay K. Sahajpal, MD
Transplant Surgery

Studies done on alcohol consumption and breast cancer show that alcohol does increase the risk of breast cancer. Women who drink 2-3 drinks a day have a 20% higher risk of breast cancer. Alcohol changes the way estrogen is metabolized in the body, causing blood estrogen levels to increase. Alcohol also decreases the levels of folic acid in the body which helps the body copy and repair DNA; low folic acid levels can lead to errors in cell division that cause cancer.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.