Topic: Can Alcohol Increase Your Risk for Breast Cancer?
Tremendous strides have been made in the treatment and early detection of breast cancer. Even so, over 400,000 people are diagnosed with this condition annually in the United States. In some instances, risk factors such as drinking alcohol may play a role.
Alcohol has been found in hundreds of studiesTrusted Source to increase risk for breast cancer, as well as other cancers, including:
This doesn’t mean that every person who drinks alcohol will get breast cancer. That said, decreasing consumption or eliminating it entirely may lower your risk for developing breast cancer and other cancers.
In this article, we’ll explain the connection between alcohol and breast cancer, plus provide suggestions for lowering your overall risk.
Alcohol is a known carcinogen, which means it can adversely affect hormone levels and damage DNA within cells.
People with a specific gene, called the alcohol dehydrogenase 1C*1 allele (ADH1C*1), may be at an increased risk for getting breast cancer due to alcohol use.
The gene mutations most associated with a family history of breast cancer are BRCA1 and BRCA2. Even though alcohol consumption is an established risk factor for breast cancer, it hasn’t been definitively shown to increase breast cancer risk among people who carry these particular gene mutations.
Most alcoholic beverages consist primarily of water and ethanol, a carcinogen. StudiesTrusted Source have shown that ethanol increases estrogen levels significantly in premenopausal women, particularly in the middle of the menstrual cycle. Even light drinking may have this effect.
By increasing estrogen levels, alcohol can increase risk for estrogen-sensitive cancers, including estrogen receptor positive (ER-positive) breast cancer. ER-positive breast cancer is the most common form of this disease.
Topic Discussed: Can Alcohol Increase Your Risk for Breast Cancer?
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