There had been studies pointing out the good and bad side of wine and so far, the results had been promising. Wine was said to be good for the heart and there are certain wine types that have antioxidant properties that can help in fighting cancer. However, this new major study has found that drinking only half a glass of wine can actually increase the risk of breast cancer.
According to the study, as little as 10 grams of alcohol per day, which is equivalent to a half glass of wine or even beer, can raise the risk of breast cancer in premenopausal women by five percent. At the same time, the same amount of the alcoholic beverage can raise the risk in postmenopausal women by nine percent.
To arrive at their conclusion, researchers at the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) and World Cancer Research Fund analyzed more than 100 existing studies that looked at data of 12 million women and a total of 260,000 breast cancer cases. The results were based on calculations done on the consumption of 10 grams of alcohol, which is less than the acceptable standard of 14 grams.
Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths among women worldwide. In the United States, more than 200,000 women and 2,100 men were diagnosed with the illness in 2013. There are different risk factors that will increase the likelihood of developing the dreaded disease, including family history and old age. There’s not much a woman can do to reduce these risk or control the factors, but there are lifestyle factors as well that play in the role of breast cancer development. Women can adjust their lifestyle to somehow lower the breast cancer risk.
Apart from concluding that a small glass of wine daily can raise the risk of breast cancer, the report added that being obese or overweight or gaining more weight as women age will also likely increase the likelihood of postmenopausal breast cancer. However, study authors said that vigorous exercise can help lower the risk of premenopausal breast cancer by 17 percent and 10 percent for postmenopausal breast cancer. Exercises that require minimal effort like gardening or walking can also reduce the risk at any age by 13 percent.
Dr. Rachel Thomspon, World Cancer Research Fund’s head of research interpretation, advises women on what steps they can take to prevent breast cancer.
“To help prevent breast cancer, one of the most important steps women can take is to not drink alcohol or reduce the amount of alcohol they drink. Maintaining a healthy weight and getting enough exercise are also important.”
AICR Head of Nutrition Programs Alice Bender, in a press release, also provided a recommendation on how women can lower the risk.
“Wherever you are with physical activity, try to nudge it up a bit, either a little longer or a little harder. Make simple food shifts to boost protection – substitute veggies like carrots, bell peppers, or green salad for chips and crackers and if you drink alcohol, stick to a single drink or less.”
Cancer experts, as reported by BBC, want to inform people that the recent findings do not provide a new insight on the relationship between breast cancer and alcohol, which has already been established. However, experts still believe it’s good practice to go alcohol-free for some days in a week and not to increase consumption. Still, with these findings, one should not be alarmed as there is a lot more to the bigger picture.
Drinking alcohol not only affects the risks of developing breast cancer; it has a greater effect on the risks of other cancers like liver, bowel, and mouth. This is one important reason that one should not be hooked on the beverage.
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