Breast Cancer: If You Drink One Glass a Day You Increase Your Risk


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A recent study indicates that if you have one alcoholic beverage a day you increase you likelihood of getting breast cancer by four percent. That risk skyrockets to 50 percent for individuals who consume three or more drinks per day.

These findings come from researchers in Germany, France, and Italy who have been reviewing data on the causal link.

Helmut K. Seitz, one of the authors of the study, explained and concluded that:

Chronic alcohol consumption increases the risk for cancer of the organs and tissues of the respiratory tract and the upper digestive tract (i.e., upper aerodigestive tract), liver, colon, rectum, and breast. Various factors may contribute to the development (i.e., pathogenesis) of alcohol-associated cancer, including the actions of acetaldehyde, the first and most toxic metabolite of alcohol metabolism. The main enzymes involved in alcohol and acetaldehyde metabolism are alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) and aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH), which are encoded by multiple genes. Because some of these genes exist in several variants (i.e., are polymorphic), and the enzymes encoded by certain variants may result in elevated acetaldehyde levels, the presence of these variants may predispose to certain cancers. Several mechanisms may contribute to alcohol-related cancer development. Acetaldehyde itself is a cancer-causing substance in experimental animals and reacts with DNA to form cancer-promoting compounds. In addition, highly reactive, oxygen-containing molecules that are generated during certain pathways of alcohol metabolism can damage the DNA, thus also inducing tumor development. Together with other factors related to chronic alcohol consumption, these metabolism-related factors may increase tumor risk in chronic heavy drinkers.

This is why they advise that "Women should not exceed one drink [per] day, and women at elevated risk for breast cancer should avoid alcohol or consume alcohol occasionally only."

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Despite the research, one woman in an interview with ABC news admitted that she will probably continue to drink wine.

Do you think this new research will influence people to cut back on their alcohol intake?