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.