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Can the occasional spirit increase your risk of breast cancer?

Jul 9, 2012, 8:31 a.m.

We have all heard about the effects of alcohol on the mind and body, but results from the Nurses' Health Study, the largest and longest running investigations of factors that influence women's health, indicate they are more dangerous than suspected, especially for women over 50. It's hard to believe ladies, but even a single cocktail or glass of wine each evening is actually enough to increase the risk of developing breast cancer. In fact, indulging in a daily cocktail causes around 7,000 additional breast cancer cases each year.

With this unfortunate news, you may be wondering if your favorite glass of wine or light beer has the same risks for the development of breast cancer as a cocktail made from a spirit such as whisky or vodka. The truth is that the effects of alcohol are equal when it comes to various kinds of alcoholic beverages. Whether you indulge in a beer, a glass of wine, or a cocktail with liquor, they are all bad news for the development of breast cancer.

Who would have thought there would be such a huge link between alcohol and breast cancer? The numbers are astounding. According to the Nurses' Health Study, researchers estimate that about 10 percent of the 45,000 breast cancer cases diagnosed each year can be attributed to women's consumption of alcohol. The effects of alcohol and breast cancer are so connected that drinking just one drink per day increases the risk of the cancer by 12 percent in women who are age 75 and younger.

Studies have indicated that the alcohol and breast cancer connection is associated only with women who are regular drinkers of alcohol. Those who only drink occasionally will not have the associated increased risk of developing breast cancer.

To limit the risk of breast cancer, women over 50 should limit alcohol consumption to try to reduce their risk of developing the dreadful disease.

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