Drinking alcohol is a common socially accepted practice that women can do without raising eyebrows around… Advantages of living in the 21st century. But in the long term, drinking alcohol can increase a woman’s chance of developing breast cancer; even a single drink a day can increase the risk of suffering from the disease in an important way.
We are in October, the month of breast cancer awareness, and the environment has begun to fill with pink bows and campaigns allusive to the disease in order to make women aware of any symptoms that may be an indication of the disease. But little is said about the risk factor that constitutes the consumption of alcohol, which is so widely accepted and constitutes a market of almost $ 250 billion a year in the United States alone.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns that Drinking alcohol increases the risk of contracting six types of cancer: mouth and throat, larynx, esophagus, colorectal, liver and breast in women. And when the health authority mentions “alcohol”, it refers the same to red or white wine, beer, spirits and any type of cocktail: the greater the quantity, the greater the risk.
The recommended alcohol consumption in the US for men is two drinks a day and for women, one daily. But even this limit dictated by American dietary guidelines can increase the risk of breast cancer in women by 14%, according more than 50 epidemiological studies that included almost 154,000 healthy and cancer women.
Of course, alcohol consumption is not the only risk factor: family history of breast cancer, smoking, sedentary lifestyle, age and reproductive history also add up, but unlike other factors, consuming alcohol is an agent that yes we can actively control.
Why is alcohol a risk factor for breast cancer?
The CDC explains that when you drink alcohol, the body breaks it down into a chemical called acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde damages DNA and prevents the body from repairing the damage. DNA is a kind of “instruction manual” for cells that controls their growth and normal function. Once DNA is damaged, a cell can grow out of control and create a cancerous tumor.
The American Cancer Society estimates that en 2021, 281,550 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women and around 43,600 women will die because of the disease.
This year, the Alcohol Research Group of the Institute of Public Health in the US has launched a campaign to warn women about the dangerous and near-secret relationship between alcohol use and breast cancer, one of the most terrible and deadly diseases for the female gender. You can watch it here.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.