Alcohol and Breast Cancer | Does Alcohol Cause Breast Cancer?
It’s unfortunate that alcohol has become viewed as something that’s just part of our culture in the U.S. It’s unfortunate because of the many risks that come with alcohol use, particularly in excess. It’s linked with so many serious health conditions, including weight gain and obesity, problems with the brain and memory, and liver damage.
The use of alcohol is also associated with an increased risk of developing certain kinds of cancer.
So what about alcohol and breast cancer? Does alcohol cause breast cancer?
Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer that occurs among women, and some of the risk factors are genetic, but there are also lifestyle factors that contribute to the development as well. When someone has breast cancer, it can start in the milk ducts of the breast, or something called the lobules. Invasive breast cancer comes out of the lobules or ducts and then affects nearby tissues, and this can increase the likelihood of it spreading to other areas of the body.
Non-invasive breast cancer refers to a scenario where cancer stays in the place it originated, and it hasn’t left that area yet.
One of the first symptoms of breast cancer that people often notice is a lump in the breast or an area of thickened tissue. Other signs and symptoms of breast cancer can include a pain in the breast or armpit that doesn’t change with your monthly cycle, redness of the breast skin, a rash around the nipple, and discharge coming from the nipple. Other signs of breast cancer can include a nipple that appears inverted, changes in the size or shape of the breast, and peeling or scaling of the nipple skin.
Some of the risk factors for developing breast cancer include age, genetics, and a history of already having it. Being exposed to estrogen may increase the risk, and obesity may as well, while breastfeeding seems to reduce the risk of breast cancer.
There are certain lifestyle changes or decisions a woman can make to lower her risk of developing breast cancer including having a healthy diet, exercising and maintaining a healthy body weight.
Research has shown that drinking alcohol of any kind increases the risk of developing breast cancer and in particular, the kind that’s referred to as hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer. This is believed to be because alcohol increases certain levels of hormones associated with this type of breast cancer, including estrogen. Researchers also think alcohol and breast cancer may be linked because it damages the DNA found in our cells.
Women who have three alcoholic drinks a week have a 15 percent higher risk of developing breast cancer, and for every additional drink a woman has per day, that risk goes up another 10 percent, as compared to women who don’t drink.
Also, other research on alcohol and breast cancer has shown that in women who were previously diagnosed at an early stage of the disease had a higher risk of it recurring if they drank.
Some of the best ways to reduce your risk of developing breast cancer involve living a healthy lifestyle, and you should also make sure you’re drinking only in moderation.
It’s recommended if you’re concerned about the risks of alcohol and breast cancer that you drink no more than two drinks a week. Women should also note that a drink is probably smaller than what you might think. For example, one drink is classified as only five ounces of wine, 1.5 ounces of liquor, or 12 ounces of beer.
In general, some things that can increase the risk of developing any kind of cancer include diet, exercise, and body weight. Alcohol consumption also plays a big role in your risk of developing cancer.
Does alcohol cause breast cancer?
Alcohol certainly isn’t the only contributing risk factor for breast cancer, but it is a big one. Having just a few drinks a week can significantly raise your risk of developing breast cancer, and this risk goes up with every drink you have.
If you want to reduce your risk, it’s important to understand the link between alcohol and breast cancer and make healthy lifestyle choices.
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