Older Women Who Drink Alcohol May Have Higher Risk of Recurrent Breast Cancer

A recent study presented at the American Association for Cancer Research San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium suggests that older women who have three to four alcoholic beverages a week are more likely to have their breast cancer return.
The study, performed though Kaiser Permanente Northern California Cancer Registry, looked at 1,900 women who had beaten early-stage invasive breast cancer between the years of 1997 and 2000. The women, who self-reported the amount of alcohol they consumed weekly, were followed for eight consecutive years.

The findings revealed that the women who reported drinking less than a half a drink a day had no higher risk of the breast cancer returning. However, women who reported drinking three to four alcoholic beverages a week experienced a 30 percent increased risk of breast cancer recurrence. The more alcohol the women reported drinking, the higher the risk. The study also found the risk to be even higher in the women who were overweight.

Researchers believe the cause of these findings to be linked to estrogen. Many breast cancers are propelled by estrogen, and alcohol has been known to increase the rate in which a women’s body processes estrogen.

While these findings do not mean that if you drink alcohol you will get breast cancer or that your breast cancer will return, it is simply another reason to consume alcohol in moderation and strive to maintain your overall health.

Dr. Whiteman is a board member and serves as medical director for The Sport of Giving, a nonprofit organization that has raised over a million dollars in support of breast cancer care and prevention in the local area. It is progressive research such as this study that will help women to be informed about the disease and allow them to make the healthiest choices possible.

For more about Dr. Whiteman’s involvement in the breast cancer cause and to learn about his breast reconstruction ‘buddy system’ visit our website.