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Alcohol and breast cancer
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Alcohol and breast cancer

Hello everyone, I have a bit of an odd question....I recently had a lump on my breast removed, luckily the results were benign (fibroadenomatoid hyperplasia). According to my doctor this would mean a slight increase in breast cancer risk for the future. I have been spending a lot of time (too much probably) on the Internet etc to educate myself, and although I don't have any other risk factors (family history, reproductive history, I am only 34) and lead a healthy lifestyle, my only downfall is that I enjoy drinking wine, I'd have 2-3 glasses of wine most nights. I am paranoid now that my little pleasure at night relaxing after a frantic day will end up giving me breast cancer...! Any thoughts?
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9 Comments
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739091_tn?1300669627
If you have a BRCA genetic mutation then alcohol is something you would want to avoid altogether.

Best wishes
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Avatar_f_tn
By itself, the alcohol, would be considered excessive (in that it exceeds the number of standard drinks per week) and professionals would advise some alcohol free days.

I recently had radiation and while attending another specialist appointment I saw a poster that said binge drinking increases the risk or breast cancer by 2/3's.

I'm glad your lump was benign.  Life events are always good motivators for making healthy lifestyle changes.  It's natural to want to understand.  You could also try posting your question in the breast cancer expert forum or the weight loss and healthy lifestyle expert forum if you need more information.

J
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962875_tn?1314213636
We've all seen a lot of different statistics regarding the role of alcohol in BC and there's probably no definitive answer that fits everyone. However, a couple of reports you might want to consider: 1.) Jean Carper, an author and leading authority on health and nutrition, recently stated in one of her columns that a new analysis of 70,000 women found that consuming 1 to 2 drinks per day poses a 10% higher risk of BC, and more than 3 drinks per day boosts the risk 30% compared with with women having less than 1 drink per day. 2.) In a recent online chat with two BC specialists on breast cancer.org, one of them reported that postmenopausal women who consume 1/2 glass of wine per day increase their risk for BC by 6%, while women in the same group who consume 2-3 glasses of wine per day increase their risk by close to 40%. 3.) British researchers, analyzing data from 53 previous studies involving 150,000 women concluded that relative to nondrinkers, the drinker's risk of BC rose 7.1% with each daily 10 g increment of alcohol imbibed.

Given that many known BC risk factors are beyond our control, any factor we can modify, such as whether and how much we drink, becomes important. I share this information with all of my female patients who drink, and  urge new patients  who are more than light drinkers or are in recovery from alcohol abuse to immediately get a mammogram, if they have not been having them regularly.

If you decide to continue to drink despite the increase risk of BC you may be incurring, be sure to take folic acid, as there is some evidence it may decrease the risk alcohol poses. Best wishes...
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi Nora,
Don't drive yourself crazy looking up stuff online.  (I have done that.) Call the American Cancer Society and request booklets for information about breast cancer, breast cancer and diet, alcohol & BC, & they are all free.  I did the same thing you did, drinking 2 glasses of beer or wine 5-7 days a week (sometimes more on my days off)  thinking it would help prevent heart disease (I have family risk on both sides of the family) and & thinking it reduced stress.  I was diagnosed with BC in April.  I never asked why me, but know that being overweight and consuming alcohol are definitely 2 risk factors for BC.  I have had more stress in my life the year before I was diagnosed with BC and I believe that was the strongest factor.  I am also 56,  5 yrs post menopausal, and have read this is a very common age for BC diagnosis.  I have been told to avoid alcohol, but if I prefer to drink limit it to no more that 5 drinks a week.  I haven't had a drink since my lumpectomy  (well 1 on July 4th) as I fear lymphedema, & am currently receiving radiation therapy.  Will I drink alcohol again after treatment...probably a limited amount, it's healthier for me not to.
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks for all the info and alcohol & BC.  It's a strong reminder of the reason why I should avoid alcohol in the future.

I will end radiation treatment Friday 7/31.  I plan to ask the MD for advice on how to avoid fibrosis of the breast which is a late side effect.  Do you have any info regarding studies on  late effects of RT and how to avoid them.  I would like to see a Homeopathic MD for advice on supplements/antioxidents for afterward.  Do you know of any in the Woodbridge, NJ area?

Many thanks
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962875_tn?1314213636
I've sent you a private message. Warm regards...
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Avatar_f_tn
Hello

Thank you so much for all the information. I am very new to this forum and I am very thankful for all the answers I received regarding my question. They gave me a lot of very convincing reasons NOT to overindulge in alcohol in the future, thank you for all the support...
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Avatar_f_tn
hello

With my newly found motivation to kick my 'risky' habits, I'd have one more question: Is it possible to 'reverse' the damage done over the past years, meaning, will my risk factor go back to 'normal' in say, a couple o years, if I was to stop drinking now? Thanks again
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962875_tn?1314213636
I have sent you a private message with a detailed relpy.  Best wishes...
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