Alcohol Amount, Not Type Increases Risk -- MEDICA - World Forum for Medicine
Picture: Glas and bottle of red wine 
Less than one drink a day
does not enhance the breast
cancer risk; ©

Yan Li, MD, PhD, a Kaiser Permanente oncologist, Klatsky, MD, an investigator with the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, CA and colleagues studied the drinking habits of 70,033 multi-ethnic women who had supplied information during health examinations between 1978 and 1985. By 2004, 2,829 of these women were diagnosed with breast cancer.

The study found there was no difference between wine, beer or spirits in the risk of developing breast cancer. Even when wine was divided into red and white, there was no difference. However, when researchers looked at the relationship between breast cancer risk and total alcohol intake, they found that women who drank between one and two alcoholic drinks per day increased their risk of breast cancer by ten percent compared with light drinkers who drank less than one drink a day. The risk of breast cancer increased by 30 percent in women who drank more than three drinks a day.

Results were similar when researchers looked at groups stratified by age and ethnicity. „Statistical analyses limited to strata of wine preferrers, beer preferrers, spirits preferrers or non-preferrers each showed that heavier drinking - compared to light drinking - was related to breast cancer risk in each group. This strongly confirms the relation of ethyl alcohol to increased risk,” said Klatsky.

„A 30 percent increased risk is not trivial. To put it into context, it is not much different from the increased risk associated with women taking estrogenic hormones. Incidentally, in previous research completed at Kaiser Permanente, we have found that smoking a pack of cigarettes or more per day is related to a similar (30 percent) increased risk of breast cancer,” he continues.; Source: Kaiser Permanente Division of Research