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Even three drinks a week increases breast cancer risk

A new study has found that women who drink a few glasses of wine a week may be raising the risk of tumours by 15 per cent.

Image: paulaloe via Flickr

WOMEN WHO DRINK three to six glasses of wine every week may be increasing their risk of getting breast cancer, according to a new study.

Even that relatively small alcohol consumption could raise breast cancer risk by 15 per cent, the study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association states.

However, the study’s authors said that small amounts of alcohol could have other positive effects, and it is difficult to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of moderate alcohol consumption.

“We’re not recommending that women stop drinking altogether,” lead author Dr Wendy Chen told the New York Times. “For an individual woman to make the best decision it would depend on what her own breast cancer risk factors are, as well as her cardiovascular risk factors.”

Drinking small amounts of alcohol has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease.

The study followed 105,986 people over nearly 28 years. Among women who never drank there were 281 breast cancers per year for every 100,000 women; while for those drinking between three and six glasses of wine a week the number increased to 333, the BBC reports.

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Higher levels of alcohol consumption were found to have much more significant effects. According to the LA Times, binge drinking – taking six or more drinks in one sitting – increased cancer risk by 33 per cent.

“Alcohol is a real risk factor, and the more you drink the higher your risk,” breast cancer expert Dr Steven A Narod wrote in a commentary alongside the research.

Read more: Two aspirin tablets a day “cuts bowel cancer risk”>

About the author:

Michael Freeman

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