Sip with caution: Just one daily drink raises breast cancer risk by 7-10%

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alcohol-increases-breast-cancer-risk(NaturalHealth365)  The medical community’s view of red wine is similar to its view of eggs in that both are inconsistent: one year’s study insists it is healthy, only for the next year’s study to state the exact opposite.

Now, the latest wine study brings some unwelcome news: it confirms what many have feared for a while – alcohol, including wine, plays a role in breast cancer development.

Is alcohol the hidden culprit behind rising breast cancer rates?

Breast cancer stands as a leading cause of death among women worldwide, with over two million new cases diagnosed each year.  Shockingly, alcohol, often considered a social indulgence, contributes to half of the tumors leading to breast cancer.  Keep in mind, alcohol is a drug that fosters the growth of mammary tumors through ethanol metabolism.

Altogether, alcohol consumption is implicated in three million annual deaths globally, accounting for slightly over 5% of total fatalities.  Moreover, it is a significant risk factor for various health issues, including nutritional deficiencies, perinatal complications, maternal health problems, and infectious diseases.

Even more concerning is that consuming as little as 10 to 15 grams of alcohol daily increases the risk of breast cancer.  In European women alone, an estimated 80,000 cancer deaths annually can be attributed to alcohol consumption.

The situation is deteriorating yearly, evident in the surge of alcohol-related breast cancer cases, which multiplied by a factor of 1.7 between 1990 and 2017.  During this period, breast cancer deaths linked to alcohol consumption climbed from 44,200 to 56,800.

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How much is too much? Could a glass of wine raise breast cancer risk?

The meta-analysis of cohort studies spanning 45,350 breast cancer cases reveals women who consumed a single alcoholic drink per day were 7% to 10% more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer.  The consumption of two to three alcoholic drinks per day increases the chances of breast cancer diagnosis to 20%.

To be more specific, the consumption of merely 10 g of alcohol daily heightened the risk for cancer by a whopping 10.5%.  The consumption of 10 grams of wine per day also increased the risk of cancer by 8.9%.  Consuming 10 grams of alcohol per day as a postmenopausal woman hiked the risk of cancer by 11.1%.

How alcohol consumption causes cancer

Ethanol, a colorless liquid in wine and other alcoholic drinks, is the most common volatile compound in red and white wine.  Ethanol metabolism has two stages: the initial stage generates acetaldehyde as the primary metabolite, and the subsequent stage creates acetic acid.  However, each person’s unique body chemistry metabolizes ethanol in its own distinct way.

It is interesting to note that a study of 315 women diagnosed with breast cancer revealed the chances of breast cancer were higher in those with two copies of an allele referred to as ADH1C*1.  Alleles represent gene copies inherited from parents, situated on specific segments of chromosomes known as gene loci.

Moreover, premenopausal women with homozygous ADH1C*1 who drank greater amounts of alcohol were at higher risk for breast cancer than those who consumed only a moderate amount of alcohol.

Strategies to reduce your chances of a breast cancer diagnosis

Completely cutting out alcohol significantly contributes to breast cancer prevention as well as reducing the risk of other cancers.  By swapping your nightly alcoholic beverage for alternatives such as non-alcoholic beer or wine, kombucha, tea, or sparkling water, you can improve your overall health outcomes.

In addition to cutting out alcohol, maintaining a healthy, organic diet and staying active with regular exercise are crucial for lowering cancer risks.  Focus on plant-based foods, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats while avoiding processed meats and sugary treats.

Be sure to include specific foods in your diet, like cruciferous vegetables, berries, fatty fish, and whole grains to further reduce the risk of breast cancer.  Exercise activities like bicycling, running, tennis, and pickleball are beneficial, but even a brisk 20-minute walk around the block daily can make a difference.

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