Breast cancer risk.
One in five breast cancers linked to alcohol
New analysis shows impact of booze on cancer understated
New Cancer Council analysis published in the Medical Journal of Australia shows the level of cancer incidence caused by alcohol in Australia is higher than previously thought, with more than 5000 new cases each year linked to long-term drinking.
Applying the latest international data to Australia, the analysis estimated that 22 per cent of the nation’s breast cancer cases were linked to alcohol consumption. It also factored in new evidence linking alcohol to bowel cancer in men.
Cancer Council Australia CEO and a co-author of the analysis, Professor Ian Olver, said community awareness of the links between alcohol and cancer should be raised so people could make more informed lifestyle choices to help minimise their cancer risk.
?We have known for some time that alcohol is a major risk factor for breast cancer, but only by applying international data to Australian drinking patterns were we able to estimate that more than one in five cases here are linked to alcohol,? Professor Olver said.
?Factor in the new evidence on bowel cancer in men and the
established links to cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, oesophagus
and liver, and alcohol is clearly one of the most carcinogenic products
in common use.?
Professor Olver said the impact on breast cancer was a particular concern, as there were few other steps women could take to minimise their risk.
?A lot of effort goes into raising breast cancer awareness, but how many Australian women are aware that reducing alcohol consumption is one of the best ways to reduce their breast cancer risk?? he said.
Professor Olver said the dose-response relationship meant the risk of alcohol-related cancer increased with every drink consumed.
?The more alcohol you consume over time, the higher your risk of developing an alcohol-related cancer.
?So if individuals do choose to drink, our advice is to do so in accordance with the National Health and Medical Research Council guidelines, which recommend no more than two standard drinks a day.
Research consistently shows that drinking alcoholic beverages — beer, wine, and liquor — increases a woman’s risk of hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer. Alcohol can increase levels of estrogen and other hormones associated with hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer. Alcohol also may increase breast cancer risk by damaging DNA in cells.
Compared to women who don’t drink at all, women who have three alcoholic drinks per week have a 15% higher risk of breast cancer. Experts estimate that the risk of breast cancer goes up another 10% for each additional drink women regularly have each day.