Even one drink a day ups breast cancer risks among women

Alcohol consumption, whether moderate or excessive, poses risk to psychological and physical well-being of an individual. What begins as a fun activity with peers and in social circles, or as a means to get rid of life’s stressors, soon becomes symbolic of ugly hangovers, anxiety, depression, liver damage and heart failure. 

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), of the 72,559 liver disease deaths in America in 2013, among individuals aged 12 and older, 45.8 percent involved alcohol and of all liver cirrhosis deaths, 47.9 percent were alcohol related. Alcohol is the fourth leading preventable cause of deaths in the country. Even more alarming is the rate at which alcohol addiction has affected the female population, where the prevalence of fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is estimated to be two to seven cases per 1,000 and that of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) to be as high as 20 to 50 cases per 1,000.

Excessive alcohol consumption detrimental to women’s health

The relationship between alcohol addiction and how it affects women is a much-studied topic with specific attention on breast cancer. Previous studies that provided evidence on the link between the two were largely based on Caucasian women, for which the findings were restrictive. However, recent studies, like the one published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention in May 2017, involved 22,338 African American women from the African American Breast Cancer Epidemiology and Risk (AMBER) consortium. The study analyzed the association between the number of alcoholic drinks per week (DPW) and breast cancer using regression, adjusting for potential confounders and stratifying by breast cancer subtype. The researchers found that the African American women drinking seven or more drinks per week are at an increased risk of breast cancer regardless of their subtype. The case is also the same among women of European descent.

Another report by the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) and the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) suggests that drinking about 10 grams alcohol content a day increases pre-menopausal breast cancer risk by 5 percent and post-menopausal breast cancer risk by 9 percent. The results came after analyzing 119 studies, including data on 12 million women and 260,000 cases of breast cancer. “With this comprehensive and up-to-date report the evidence is clear: Having a physically active lifestyle, maintaining a healthy weight throughout life and limiting alcohol — these are all steps women can take to lower their risk,” said Anne McTiernan, lead author of the report and cancer prevention expert at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

The findings suggest that women need to be more careful about their health and restrain themselves from excess consumption of alcoholic drinks. It’s a myth that moderate drinking does not have any health risks. Therefore, one must abstain from indulging in a substance that gives momentary pleasure but creates lifelong dependence and triggers a chain of adverse reactions. Seeking timely help is the key to early recovery.

Help at hand

Alcohol addiction is a chronic disease and, if left untreated, can lead to serious physical and mental illnesses. It also affects interpersonal relationships with family and friends as well as work performance. However, it is not a blind alley for those who drink. Alcoholism is treatable with the help of professional health care providers through treatment programs that best suit the need of an individual.

The Florida Alcohol Addiction Helpline can provide you with more information on alcohol addiction and related treatments. Our treatment specialists can help you connect to the best alcohol rehab centers in Florida.  Call us at our 24/7 helpline number (866) 220-5381 or chat with a representative to find out more about alcohol dependence treatment in Florida.