A study presented over the weekend at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research is one of the largest of its kind of find a link between drinking and breast cancer.
Based on data from more than 184,000 women, the study found that even moderate drinking – one or two drinks per day – increased the risk of ER+/PR+ breast cancer. Women who consumed three or more glasses of alcohol per day had as much as a 51 per cent increase in risk compared to women who didn’t drink at all.
The researchers involved in the study believe this increased risk is the result of how alcohol – regardless of the type – seems to impact the metabolism of estrogen. But they say it’s too early to make wide-scale recommendations about alcohol consumption based on their results. Other studies have suggested that moderate alcohol consumption could reduce your risk of heart disease, while a Harvard School of Public Health position paper suggests adequate folic acid intake may mitigate the increased cancer risk.
In all, it makes for a confusing brew. The researchers suggest talking to your doctor to find out what’s best for you.
“A woman should evaluate consumption of alcohol along with other known breast cancer risk factors, such as use of hormone replacement therapy,” said the study’s first author, Jasmine Q. Lew, in a press release.