Women worried about breast cancer should stay away from alcohol, says study

Women worried about breast cancer should stay away from alcohol, says study

Drinking alcohol is widely accepted in most cultures and no celebration is deemed complete without a toast or two. Men and women, alike, drink to rejoice or relieve stress. According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), around 5.3 million women, aged 18 or older (amounting to 4.2 percent women) and 325,000 females aged 12–17 years (2.7 percent of females in the age group) had alcohol use disorder (AUD). In the light of the findings, it is important to educate women about the risks of alcohol consumption.

A recent study on the impact of alcohol on women health has made some striking revelations. It has revealed that alcohol consumption is likely to increase the risk of breast cancer while limiting alcohol can help minimize the risk.

Many studies before have identified alcohol consumption as one of the major risk factors for breast cancer. However, most of these studies were carried out on white women. The present study, published in May 2017 in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, was conducted solely on African-American women to see if they have the similar risk.

Contrasting findings

Researchers recruited 22,338 women from the African American Breast Cancer Epidemiology and Risk (AMBER) Consortium, who reported their alcohol consumption through a questionnaire. After interpreting the responses of the women, researchers found that women who consumed seven or more drinks per week were likely to develop all subtypes. Women whose alcohol intake was 14 or more beverages per week had 33 percent higher risk of developing breast cancer than women who drank four or fewer drinks per week.

However, the study also suggested a contrasting finding. Researchers found that 45 percent of the women with breast cancer were “never drinkers.” They, in fact, had higher likelihood of developing breast cancer than the light drinkers. The authors are of the opinion that many black women tend to refrain from drinking due to religious restrictions. Though the researchers could not identify the exact reason behind increased risk in never drinkers, they hinted a possible role of comorbidities including diabetes that influenced alcohol consumption in these women.

Melissa A. Troester, the lead author and a professor of epidemiology and director of the Center for Environmental Health and Susceptibility in the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina, said, “Alcohol is an important modifiable exposure, whereas many other risk factors are not. Women who are concerned about their risk of breast cancer could consider reducing levels of exposure.” Troester emphasized on the need of further research to determine how particular cancer risk factors from reproductive history, body weight, family history and oral contraceptive use affect each race the most. This can help control mortality rates associated with cancer incidence.

The study is consistent with previous studies that linked alcohol consumption to breast cancer. A 2015 study published in the journal Women’s Health had suggested an association between moderate alcohol consumption and elevated risk of breast cancer, specifically hormone receptor-positive subtypes.

The 2010 U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans restricts alcohol consumption in adult women to not more than one drink per day. Considering a significant association between light and moderate alcohol intake and increased risk of breast cancer risk, even the recommended dose may be dangerous for some women. Therefore, researchers warrant the need of necessary interventions to prevent breast cancer not only in midlife and older women, but also in adolescent girls and young women.

Treating alcohol-related problems

AUD and other problems associated with alcohol addiction need to be treated at the earliest to avoid further complications. For all addiction-related conditions, treatment generally begins with detoxification that includes removing the toxic substances from the body. Detox is often associated with relapse and strong withdrawal symptoms, therefore, should only be done under strict medical supervision.

If you or your loved is looking for help to cure alcohol addiction, the California Detox Helpline can help you find the best facilities providing alcohol rehab in California. You can contact us through an online chat or call our 24/7 helpline number 855-780-2495 to find alcohol treatment centers in California where recovery is facilitated in a serene environment by experts who customize the treatment basis the patient’s needs and condition.