Heavy Drinking Raises Breast Cancer Risk

But a drink or two per day seems safe, study finds

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WEDNESDAY, July 14, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- A new study has confirmed that heavy drinking increases the risk of breast cancer, particularly among premenopausal women.

However, the Danish research also found light-to-moderate drinking appears to have little effect on a woman's risk for breast cancer.

"Our study confirms earlier reports that heavy alcohol consumption is a risk for breast cancer," said Morten Gronbaek, a professor at the Centre for Alcohol Research at the National Institute of Public Health in Denmark.

"The second main finding is that there seems to be no difference in the effect of the different types of alcohol, which indicates that it is ethanol itself and not the type of drink that is responsible for breast-cancer development," he continued.

The study involved more than 13,000 women between 20 and 91 years of age. Heavy drinking was defined as the consumption of more than 27 alcoholic drinks a week.

"Based on our results, the average reader should not worry too much about light to moderate intake, say, in the area of one to two drinks per day," Gronbaek said.

The study appears in the July issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

More information

The National Cancer Institute has more about breast cancer.

SOURCES: Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, news release, July 14, 2004

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