While heavy drinking (three or more drinks per day) can increase a woman’s risk of breast cancer by up to 50 percent, recent review of existing research shows that even just one drink per day can increase this risk by five percent. As HealthDay recently reported, in the United States, where one in eight women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime, alcohol consumption only adds to that initial risk.
The link between moderate alcohol consumption and increased breast cancer risk has been reported before, but as pointed out by Susan Gapstur, Vice President of the epidemiology research program at the American Cancer Society, “we are basically getting to the point where we can more precisely estimate the risk of light alcohol consumption.”
But since moderate alcohol consumption has been shown to be heart-healthy, how can women perform this kind of balancing act between heart health and breast health? “For overall health,” says Gapstur, “if you don’t drink, don’t start. If you do, it’s best to limit your consumption to one drink a day if you are a woman.”