What is the effect of alcohol consumption on breast cancer risk?

Updated: Dec 16, 2019
  • Author: Jessica Katz, MD, PhD, FACP; Chief Editor: Marie Catherine Lee, MD, FACS  more...
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A study by Chen et al found that low levels of alcohol consumption were associated with a small increase in breast cancer risk; cumulative alcohol intake throughout adult life was the most consistent measure. Alcohol intake that occurred early and late in adult life was independently associated with risk. [32] The mechanism, though unclear, likely is mediated via increasing estrogen levels.

A meta-analysis showed that for every 10 grams of alcohol consumed per day, there is a 7% increase in the risk of breast cancer. Compared with women who never drank, women who drank 35-44 g of alcohol (or, roughly 2-3 alcoholic beverages) per day had a 32% increased risk. [10]

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