Risks of breast cancer slightly increase with light drinking

This article was last updated on April 16, 2022

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A recent study states that women who drink three to six alcoholic drinks weekly face a little bit higher risk of breast cancer.

“If there’s a 50 year old woman, her risk of breast cancer would increase by 15 per cent with a level of alcohol consumption of three to six drinks per week,” said research author Dr. Wendy Chen of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston.

Moreover, the researchers also considered other cancer risk factors such as age of menstruation, menopause, family history, weight, smoking, and still found a link with alcohol.

“Our results highlight the importance of considering lifetime exposure when evaluating the effect of alcohol, and probably other dietary factors, on the carcinogenesis process,” added Chen.

The study also concluded that binge drinking, but not frequency of drinking, was related with breast cancer risk.

“Once they got over two drinks a day, I think the consensus would be that it might be advisable to reduce alcohol consumption both for reducing the risk of breast cancer and they might realize other health benefits as well,” Dr. Steven Narod of Women’s college Research Institute in Toronto said in a journal editorial.

Since the study was observational and alcohol consumption was not arbitrarily assigned to women, the researchers failed to identify a cause-and-effect relationship with breast cancer. The U.S. National Institutes of Health financially backed the study.

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