Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Low levels of alcohol consumption associated with small increased risk of breast cancer, study finds

Date:
November 2, 2011
Source:
JAMA and Archives Journals
Summary:
Consumption of three to six alcoholic drinks per week is associated with a small increase in the risk of breast cancer, and consumption in both earlier and later adult life is also associated with an increased risk, according to a new study.

Consumption of 3 to 6 alcoholic drinks per week is associated with a small increase in the risk of breast cancer, and consumption in both earlier and later adult life is also associated with an increased risk, according to a study in the Nov. 2 issue of JAMA.

"In many studies, higher consumption of alcohol has been associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. However, the effect of low levels of drinking as is common in the United States has not been well quantified," according to background information in the article. "In addition, the role of drinking patterns (i.e., frequency of drinking and 'binge' drinking) and consumption at different times of adult life are not well understood."

Wendy Y. Chen, M.D., M.P.H., of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, and colleagues examined the association of breast cancer with alcohol consumption during adult life, including quantity, frequency, and age at consumption. The study included 105,986 women enrolled in the Nurses' Health Study who were followed up from 1980 until 2008 with an early adult alcohol assessment and 8 updated alcohol assessments. The primary outcome the researchers measured was the risk of developing invasive breast cancer.

During the follow-up period, there were 7,690 cases of invasive breast cancer diagnosed among the study participants. Analyses of data indicated that a low level of alcohol consumption (5.0 to 9.9 grams per day, equivalent to 3-6 glasses of wine per week) was modestly but statistically significantly associated with a 15 percent increased risk of breast cancer. In addition, women who consumed at least 30 grams of alcohol daily on average (at least 2 drinks per day) had a 51 percent increased risk of breast cancer compared with women who never consumed alcohol.

The researchers also found that when examined separately, alcohol consumption levels at ages 18 to 40 years and after age 40 years were both strongly associated with breast cancer risk. The association with drinking in early adult life still persisted even after controlling for alcohol intake after age 40 years.

Binge drinking, but not frequency of drinking, was also associated with breast cancer risk after controlling for cumulative alcohol intake.

The authors add that although the exact mechanism for the association between alcohol consumption and breast cancer is not known, one probable explanation may involve alcohol's effects on circulating estrogen levels.

"In summary, our study provides a comprehensive assessment of the relationship between alcohol intake and breast cancer risk in terms of timing, frequency, quantity, and types of alcohol in a large prospective cohort with detailed information on breast cancer risk factors," the researchers write. "Our results highlight the importance of considering lifetime exposure when evaluating the effect of alcohol, and probably other dietary factors, on the carcinogenesis process. However, an individual will need to weigh the modest risks of light to moderate alcohol use on breast cancer development against the beneficial effects on cardiovascular disease to make the best personal choice regarding alcohol consumption."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by JAMA and Archives Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal References:

  1. W. Y. Chen, B. Rosner, S. E. Hankinson, G. A. Colditz, W. C. Willett. Moderate Alcohol Consumption During Adult Life, Drinking Patterns, and Breast Cancer Risk. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, 2011; 306 (17): 1884 DOI: 10.1001/jama.2011.1590
  2. S. A. Narod. Alcohol and Risk of Breast Cancer. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, 2011; 306 (17): 1920 DOI: 10.1001/jama.2011.1589

Cite This Page:

JAMA and Archives Journals. "Low levels of alcohol consumption associated with small increased risk of breast cancer, study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 November 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111101171025.htm>.
JAMA and Archives Journals. (2011, November 2). Low levels of alcohol consumption associated with small increased risk of breast cancer, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111101171025.htm
JAMA and Archives Journals. "Low levels of alcohol consumption associated with small increased risk of breast cancer, study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111101171025.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

AP (July 28, 2014) A bipartisan deal to improve veterans health care would authorize at least $15 billion in emergency spending to fix a veterans program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
West Africa Gripped by Deadly Ebola Outbreak

West Africa Gripped by Deadly Ebola Outbreak

AFP (July 28, 2014) The worst-ever outbreak of the deadly Ebola epidemic grips west Africa, killing hundreds. Duration: 00:48 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins