Breast Cancer Prevention: Drinking Alcohol

Breast cancer prevention is associated with drinking alcohol?

Moderate drinking was linked to prevention of  breast cancer prevention in this study.

breast cancer prevention

Doctors studied two hundred and fifty breast cancer patients and 250 controls. Data collection was by face-to-face interviews. The data collected included demographic, clinical, lifestyle, diet, and drinking patterns.

Drinking was categorized as follows.

  • Never
  • Rarely
  • Three to four times per month.
  • One to two times per week.
  • Three to four times per week.
  • Daily

Data also included form of alcoholic beverage consumed (red or white wine, beer, liquor or whiskey, or other).

Women who drank alcohol three to four times per week had reduced risk of breast cancer. That is, with breast cancer prevention. Drinking more often was linked with more risk.

Other research evidence  has found benefits from folate. Women who drink alcohol and have a high folate intake are not at increased risk of breast cancer. That is, compared to abstainers. Foods rich in folate include dark green leafy vegetables, citrus, peas, and dried beans.

The American Cancer Society says there are other things that may contribute to breast cancer prevention.

  • Avoid becoming overweight or obese after menopause.
  • Don’t have more than one alcoholic drink per day.
  • Consider avoiding hormone replacement therapy after menopause.
  • Exercise regularly.

Be aware of breast cancer symptoms. Having some does not always mean breast cancer. But having even one is reason to see a doctor. Doing breast self-exams monthly is a good way to notice anything unusual.

The National Breast Cancer Foundation reports some symptoms of breast cancer.

  • A change in how a nipple or breast feels. Nipple tenderness. Lump or thickening in a breast or armpit, or even near them.
  • A change in skin texture or bigger pores. Any change in how a nipple or breast looks. Dimpling. Swelling (especially one side only). Shrinkage (especially one side only). Nipple turned inward. Change in skin texture. Scaly, red, or swollen skin. Ridges or pitting like an orange peel.
  • An oozing or discharge from a nipple.

Any unusual change in a breast or nipple is reason enough to see a doctor. Early detection is key to cure. Better safe than sorry.

Source: Mourouti, N., et al.  The J-shaped association between alcohol consumption and breast cancer.  Curr Nutr Food Sci, 2014, 10(2), 120-127.

Popular Readings on Breast Cancer Prevention

Arnot, R. and Gilliland, R. The Breast Cancer Prevention Diet. Los Angeles: NewStar, 1999.

Bryfonski, D. Breast Cancer. Farmington Hills, MI: Greenhaven, 2016.

Conley, E. The Breast Cancer Prevention Plan: 20 Proven Steps for Reducing Your Breast Cancer Risk. NY: McGraw-Hill, 2006.

Harvie, M. The Genesis Breast Cancer Prevention Diet. London: Rodale, 2006.

Ricciotti, H. and Connelly, V. The Breast Cancer Prevention Cookbook. NY: Norton, 2002.

Russo, J. Trends in Breast Cancer Prevention. Switzerland: Springer, 2016.