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Alcohol Use Linked to Breast Cancer

Woman drinking glass of red wine

Apr. 23 2021

Research shows a clear link between alcohol consumption and breast cancer, but how much is too much? Scott Graupner, DO, Lexington Oncology, sat down with WLTX to discuss why alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer and how much alcohol increases the risk.

Dr. Graupner explains that alcohol increases the amount of estrogen in a woman's body, which increases the risk of developing breast cancer. In addition, alcohol is a carcinogen and can cause mutations to the DNA of cells in mammary tissue. 

One drink per day for women is associated with about a 10 percent increased risk of breast cancer and two drinks per day increases the risk by 20 percent. 

It does not matter what form the alcohol is in; beer, wine and liquor all have the same impact. 

In addition to reducing or eliminating alcohol intake, maintaining a health weight and getting regular exercise lower a woman's risk for breast cancer. 

Dr. Graupner encourages women to get regular screening mammograms to detect cancer early, when it is more treatable. The American Cancer Society recommends women age 45 and older receive regular mammograms. Women age 40 and older can discuss the need for mammograms with their physician. If there is a strong family history of breast cancer, woman may need to begin screening before age 40. 
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Disclaimer: This blog is intended for general understanding and education about Lexington Medical Center. Nothing on the blog should be considered or used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Blog visitors with personal health or medical questions should consult their health care provider.