The risks of alcohol abuse are well known by even elementary school kids. However the link between breast cancer and alcohol abuse is something ma y people have never known. This is not so appropriate given that most recent research findings have shown the clear link between these two conditions. Studies have proved the links between alcohol use and breast cancer. Research findings points out that one in five (21.6%) of all alcohol-related deaths are due to cancer globally. Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of death in women coming second after lung cancer.
According to Drinkaware’s Chief Medical Advisor, Professor Paul Wallace, people should know that alcohol abuse can increase women’s risk of getting breast cancer.
“My impression is that my patients don’t know about the link between alcohol and breast cancer any more than they do about the association between alcohol and fertility. We can do more to increase awareness.” he says
The professor continued to give the following details on the link between alcohol abuse and breast cancer. True to his words there seems to be a lot of evidence that alcohol abuse increases the risk of breast cancer. However, he made it clear that drinking alcohol does not guarantee that you will get breast cancer but it increases your risk of getting the disease. How much you drink over your lifetime is what increases the risk.
He opines that although alcohol does increase the risk, taken with all the other factors, its contribution to overall causation of breast cancer is estimated to be about 4%. The advice is that if you do regularly drink it should be within the government’s lower risk guidelines.
However the evidences availed by Dr. Wallace aren’t the only ones available to back up this link between alcohol abuse and breast cancer. There are older evidences which show that alcohol increases the risk of developing breast cancer. Professor Wallace confirms that they have known for years that your risk of developing breast cancer increases when you overindulge in alcohol consumption. Overall, women have a 9.5% chance of getting breast cancer before they are 75.In one of these studies it was found that drinking every day even a small amount raises that risk to 10.6%. (4) Professor Wallace says, though, that the overall risk (anything that affects your chance of getting a disease) is based on how much you drink on average each day over a lifetime.
According to Professor Wallace, this link is real based on past research findings which have been reinforced by a recent research that was even done on a larger scope to establish the link between alcohol abuse and breast cancer. This study however is still going on. This study is done on 1.3 million women across the United Kingdom. This study has indicated that the overall risk of a woman to develop breast cancer increases by 7.1 percent for each 10 grams of alcohol drank
Despite the evidences that have been availed, the exact ways alcohol increases the risk of developing breast cancer are still not fully understood but researchers have made known some of the highly potential mechanisms through which alcohol consumption links to breast cancer. one of the mechanism that is suspected to be the major contributor here is the fact that ethanol is broken down into a toxic substance known as acetaldehyde, which can cause genetic mutations, a permanent change in the DNA sequence that makes up genes. This can trigger a response from the body leading to the development of cancerous cells.
Several studies have also reported that alcohol can potentially increase the production of the female hormone estrogen in pre-menopausal and post-menopausal women. One characteristic of a cancer cell is that it multiplies out of control and in certain types of breast cancer; high circulating levels of estrogen can make this more likely to happen. Alcohol also weakens the immune system leading to nutritional deficiencies, including folic acid, vitamins A, B6, D and E and zinc, all of which may make it more difficult for the body to fight cancerous cells making a person more vulnerable to breast cancer.
The risk of developing breast cancer as always known is much higher in women than in men; this can be attributed to the higher levels of hormone estrogen in women which has been known to increase risks of developing breast cancer. Professor Wallace therefore advices women to stop indulging in excessive drinking and to drink below statutory drinking regulation limits as that is the only way they can reduce this risk of breast cancer apart from dropping alcohol use entirely.
“Drink within the government’s lower risk guidelines. When taken overall, looking at all the things alcohol does, the risk at these levels is minimal. Life isn’t about zero risk. Even if you lived in a bubble and didn’t ever go outside, you would still be likely to get osteoporosis because you didn’t exercise!” He adds.
The risk of breast cancer is not only to worry women but men as well. Though breast cancer is synonymous to women, men also are at a high risk of getting this disease especially later as they age since that is the time when their levels of hormone estrogen increases. It is therefore advisable for men to reduce the amounts of drinks they take and reduce this risk.
Finally, Alcohol abuse, addiction and cancer are problems that people cope with every day. These problems need to be treated effectively through integrative medicine. Dr. Dalal Akoury (MD) is an expert at this. Call her on (843) 213-1480 for help.