Friday, December 13, 2013

The Link Between Alcohol Consumption and Breast Cancer

Many studies have shown a link between alcohol consumption and breast cancer, and the risk is higher with the amount of alcohol ingested. Women who only drink 1 alcoholic beverage a day have a smaller increase in risk. However, ones that have 2 to 5 drinks have 1 ½ times the risk than those who don’t. Consuming an exorbitant amount of alcohol also increases the risk of developing many other types of cancer.

Alcohol is also linked to production of estrogen in women. Alcohol can cause estrogen levels to rise in women, and it changes the way they metabolize estrogen.  Estrogen increases the risk of breast cancer, and levels are higher in women who consume alcohol.

Drinking alcohol can also reduce the vitamin folic acid in the blood level. Folic acid helps copy and repair DNA, and low levels of folic acid may cause DNA to copy incorrectly when cells divide. This is a dangerous path that can lead to cancerous cells.

Alcohol and Breast Cancer
Breast Cancer Symbol

Girls between the ages of 9 and 15 who drink five alcoholic beverages a week have three times the risk of developing benign breast lumps, but some non-cancerous breast lumps are linked to a higher risk of breast cancer in later years. Young women’s breast tissue cells are vulnerable to cancer-causing elements because they are still rapidly growing. The risk rises between the average age of a girl’s first period (12) and the average age of a women’s first full-term pregnancy (25).

The risk of alcohol and breast cancer is real, but you don’t have to stop having fun if you choose to cut alcohol from your life. You can make some delicious “mocktails” with sparkling water, ginger ale, and fruit juice. Add some edible flowers or organic berries as well.

If you think you have a problem with alcohol, addiction, or if someone you love is struggling, Passport to Recovery has a list of accredited addiction treatment centers that can help start the healing process.

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