The More Alcohol You Drink the Greater Your Risk of Breast Cancer

Those concerned about their risk of developing breast cancer may decide that happy hour cocktails just are not worth the risk anymore. That is because a recent review conducted over multiple studies which examined possible links between alcohol and breast cancer says that such a link definitely exists.

Taken as a whole, the studies reviewed point to a five percent breast cancer risk increase for a woman who drinks only occasionally to moderately (moderately being one drink/day). The risk factor rises by 40-50 percent for women who drink more heavily (having three or more drinks/day) according to a recent article.

The connection between alcohol intake and breast cancer has been known for nearly 30 years. Alcohol intake is a risk factor in several types of cancer, but it is particularly noteworthy in development of breast cancer. This could be because alcohol is believed to work via hormone-associated mechanisms to increase the risk of cancer, most especially through estrogen and progesterone receptors. The studies reviewed pointed to an apparent link between alcohol consumption and the development of estrogen receptor tumors in particular. Alcohol increased a woman’s risk of developing these types of tumors by 27 percent.

Alcohol produces a rise in estrogen concentrations. Most believe that these sorts of concentrations in breast tissue, mediated by alcohol, are linked to breast cancer. Therefore, the more alcohol consumed, the greater the likelihood that such concentrations may form and that cancer may develop. The connection reviewers discovered among studies also underlines previous beliefs that alcohol impacts estrogen receptor positive tumors more so than it does estrogen receptor negative tumors in breast tissue.