Breast Cancer in African-American Women: Is Alcohol a Risk Factor for Black Women?

The risk of breast cancer in African-American women is slightly lower than among white women. But black women are more likely to have aggressive forms of breast cancer. They are also more likely to develop the disease at an earlier age.

So, the risk of breast cancer in African-American women is more serious than for white women. Indeed, it is the most common form of cancer among African-American women.

Does drinking increase the risk of breast cancer in African-American women? To see, doctors made a case-control study. They looked at 803 cases of breast cancer in African-American women in the northeast US. The researchers examined both recent and lifetime drinking.

breast cancer in African-AmericanThere was no link between recent drinking and risk of breast cancer. (Recent drinking was that within the previous year.) This finding remained after controlling for two important risk factors. Those were menopausal status and hormone receptor status.

Lifetime drinkers enjoyed a slight decreased risk of  breast cancer. That is, among black women who began drinking before age 18. This finding also remained after controlling for those two important risk factors.

Learn more about drinking alcohol and the risk of breast cancer in African American women. See the links and readings below. And remember. A regular breast self-exam can help  catch cancer early. That’s the best chance for cure.


Resources on Breast Cancer in African-American Women


Dunnavant, S. Celebrating Life: African American Women Speak out about Breast Cancer. Dallas: USFI, 1995.

Johnson, E. Breast Cancer, Black Woman. Montgomery, AL: Van Slyke & Bray, 1993.

Norton, P. Lopsided: How Having Breast Cancer can be Really Distracting. NY: Viking, 2008.

Rawls, G., et al. Managing Cancer. The African American’s Guide to Prevention, Diagnosis, and Treatment. Roscoe, IL: Hilton, 2001.

Kinney A., et al.  Alcohol consumption and breast cancer among black and white women.  Can Cause Cont., 2000, 11(4), 345-57.

Qian F., et al.  Alcohol consumption and breast cancer risk among women. PLoS ONE, 2014, 9(9), 418-427.