Daily Archives: 29/11/2014

Alcohol and breast cancer

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Last week at the Alcohol Awareness Conference Balance North East shared their campaign for this year which you can see above and which I really like.

To coincide with the start of Alcohol Awareness Week, the campaign will launch on the region’s airwaves with a radio advert featuring the North East TV star.
 
In the advert, Charlie Hardwick says: “I’m a worldly woman and I’d like to think I’ve gained a bit of knowledge in my time. But I’ll tell you something, I didn’t know about the proven links between alcohol and breast cancer. Until now.
 
“The more you drink the more you increase your risk of developing breast cancer. Now there aren’t many ways we can reduce our risk. But limiting the amount we drink is one. And that made me think twice.
 
“I just thought, ‘isn’t this something women should know about?’ Which is why I support this message from Breakthrough Breast Cancer and Balance.”
 
One in eight women develop breast cancer in their lifetime but the individual level of risk varies from person to person depending on a number of factors such as genes, lifestyle and environment. Drinking alcohol is one of the few contributing factors that can be changed to help reduce a woman’s risk of developing the disease.
 
Studies have shown that: 
  • In a group of 100 women who do not drink, around 11 are likely develop breast cancer during their life. 
  • In a group of 100 women who drink two units a day – which is the equivalent of a standard glass of wine – about 14 will develop breast cancer. 
  • In a group of 100 women who drink four units a day – the equivalent of a large glass of wine and a single measure of spirits – about 16 will develop breast cancer.

The conference also hosted the speaker Professor Linda Bauld who shared research data from Cancer Research UK about breast cancer and alcohol.

She talked about:

  1. How alcohol damages your DNA
  2. Is a solvent for tobacco so increases the risk if you drink and smoke
  3. How alcohol raises the level of oestrogen in the body
  4. Alcohol is a known carcinogenic toxin

Regularly drinking even small amounts of alcohol can increase the risk of breast cancer. A review of the evidence in 2012 concluded that having 1 drink a day (around 1.5 units) could increase the risk of breast cancer by 5%. And the risk increases the more a woman drinks, several studies have found that each additional 10g of alcohol drunk a day increases the risk of breast cancer by about 7 – 12% (10g of alcohol is equivalent to 1.25 units) (research)

The impact of alcohol on our health needs to be more widely discussed otherwise how can we try to protect ourselves against the cancer risk?