When it comes to breast cancer, evidence shows that just one standard sized drink a day can increase a woman's risk for breast cancer by 10%. Many Canadians don't know the link between alcohol use and cancer; yet, alcohol is among the top three leading risk factors for death from cancer worldwide. As alcohol intake increases, so does the risk for cancer.
Since about a quarter of British Columbians drink above the low risk drinking guidelines at least once a month, delivering the message that alcohol can increase cancer risk is becoming more and more important. Here's what you need to know about alcohol and breast cancer:
- Women have a baseline risk of breast cancer of one in eight over their lifetime.
- Drinking alcohol doesn't mean you will get breast cancer; it means your risk of developing it will be increased.
- 4% of new breast cancer cases in Canada each year are linked to alcohol consumption. 700 new cases in Canada occur each year (Source: Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction).
While some research suggests that having 1 drink a day may help lower the risk of heart disease and diabetes in middle-aged adults, these possible health benefits decline with each additional drink.
, You need to weigh the risks of the same amount of alcohol increasing your risk for breast cancer. In this sense, alcohol is like a double-edged sword - speak to your health care professional to figure out what's best for you. Women who have a higher risk for heart disease or cancer due to genetics or other risk factors should consider reducing their alcohol intake.