The rising risk of cancer associated with alcohol consumption remains an undeniable fact. Research has shown that cancer risk elevates with increased dosage of alcohol. The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) along with the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) cited a latest finding that shows the cancer risk to be alcoholic dose-dependent where the small serving of an alcoholic beverage a day can lead to an increased breast cancer risk by 5 percent in pre-menopausal women and 9 percent in post-menopausal women. This implies that the higher the consumption of alcohol, the greater the risk of having breast cancer.
In women, alcohol can have a significant impact on the levels of estrogen and certain other hormones that are linked to hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer. Additionally, drinking alcohol can damage DNA in cells which in turn can also elevate the risk of cancer.
Alice Bender who works as a head of nutrition programs at the AICR reported, “If you occasionally have a glass of wine the risk is much lower, if at all.” There is a 15% higher chance of having breast cancer associated with such women who consume alcoholic beverages at least three times per week as compared to those women who never drink. Studies have shown that with daily drinking of alcohol, breast cancer risk rises to an additional 10%.
The published report by the AICR and WCRF also disclosed the affects of vigorous exercising and intake of certain foods on reducing the risk of breast cancer in pre- and post- menopausal women. Anne McTiernan who is the lead author of this news report with an MD and Ph.D. stated, “With this comprehensive and up-to-date report the evidence is clear: Having a physically active lifestyle, maintaining a healthy weight throughout life and limiting alcohol — these are all steps women can take to lower their risk.”
The report carried out a comparison of the most active to the least active women. It was found out that breast cancer risk is likely to be reduced with vigorous physical activity (running and fast bicycling) by 17 percent in pre-menopausal and by 10 percent in post-menopausal women in contrast to women who were the least active. Moderate physical activities that include walking and gardening also reduced the risk of breast cancer by 13 percent in women who were shown to be active.
Experts have also mentioned some evidence on how the consumption of foods that contain carotenoids (spinach, carrots, apricots, and kale), calcium-rich foods, and dairy products can lessen the risk of having breast cancer. Non-starchy foods and vegetables are also linked to the reduction of estrogen-receptor-negative breast cancer.
To conclude, daily drinking of alcohol can be seriously harmful to the health and can lead to cancers of not just the breast but of mouth, throat, liver, esophagus, colon, and rectum. The very first step in lowering the risk of having a breast cancer should be limiting the regular consumption of alcohol. Quitting completely might be hard but limiting to just one or two drinks per week can considerably help. One should never give up on keeping the risk of breast cancer and other types of cancers as low as possible.