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The type of alcohol that a woman drinks makes no difference, but the amount of alcohol consumed is linked to the risk of developing breast cancer, according to a study of 70,033 women. Women who have three or more drinks a day are 30 percent more likely to develop breast cancer than non-drinkers or light drinkers.

The study by the Division of Research, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program in Oakland, California was designed to determine the risk of breast cancer from drinking different kinds of alcohol -- beer, wine or liquor. The researchers concluded that it make no difference what kind of alcohol is consumed.

However, the study did find that the quanity of alcohol consumed made a big difference. Researchers found that drinking one to two alcoholic drinks per day increased the risk of developing breast cancer 10 percent and drinking three or more drinks a day increased the risk 30 percent.

Like Smoking a Pack a Day

Speaking at the 2007 European Cancer Conference in Barcelona, Dr. Arthur Klatsky said the affect of drinking three or more drinks a day is equivalent to smoking a pack of cigarettes a day, in terms of breast cancer risks.

"Statistical analyses limited to strata of wine preferrers, beer preferrers, spririts preferrers or non-preferrers each showed that heavier drinking compared to light drinking was related to breast cancer risk in each group. This strongly confirms the relation of ethyl alcohol per se to increased risk." said Dr. Klatsky at the conference. "A 30 percent increased risk is not trivial. To put it into context, it is not much different from the increased risk associated with women taking oestrogenic hormones. Incidentally, in this same study we have found that smoking a pack of cigarettes or more per day is related to a similar (30 pecent) increased risk of breast cancer."

Only a small proportion of women are heavy drinkers, Dr Klatsky said, but a 30 percent increase in the relative risk of breast cancer from heavy drinking could translate into an extra five pecent of all women developing breast cancer.

Related Information:

Source: ECCO-the European CanCer Conference. "Wine, Women and... Spirits, Beer and Breast Cancer Risk" 27 September 2007.

Photo: Clipart.com

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