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One Alcoholic Drink Daily Increases Breast Cancer Risk

Just one glass of alcoholic drink per day increases breast cancer risk, says a new study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention.

A single glass of wine consumed daily (or any other alcoholic drink) is enough to increase the risk for breast cancer. Vigorous exercise, on the other hand, decreases it, according to the same study conducted by the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) and the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF). The findings provide a clear idea of how a physically active lifestyle coupled with limiting alcohol consumption while having a healthy weight help women to reduce their risk for breast cancer, explains lead author Anne McTiernan.

As few as 10 grams of alcohol content (a quantity found in a small glass of wine or beer) increases the risk for pre-menopausal breast cancer, and post-menopausal breast cancer by 5% and 9% respectively. Bear in mind that a standard glass has 14 grams of alcohol.

As for physical activity and breast cancer, earlier studies have suggested that moderate exercise decreases the risk of post-menopausal breast cancer, findings supported by the new paper which indicates that vigorous exercise such as running and fast cycling decreases the risk for both pre- and post-menopausal breast cancers.

More detailed finding indicates that women not having reached menopause yet who are most active are 17% less likely to have breast cancer while their post-menopausal counterparts have a 10% lower risk as opposed to women who are the least active. Furthermore, total moderate activity like walking and gardening is linked with a 13% decreased likelihood of the cancer than the least active women.

Also, overweight and obese women had an increased risk of post-menopausal breast cancer while breastfeeding mothers were less likely to develop the disease.

The research also includes tips for women to lower their 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,” says Alice Bender, AICR’s Head of Nutrition Programs.

“There are no guarantees when it comes to cancer, but it’s empowering to know you can do something to lower your risk.”


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