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HHS HealthBeat (November 25, 2011)

Drinking and breast cancer

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From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

A study indicates that drinking even a little, if a woman does it regularly, can raise the risk of breast cancer. Researcher Wendy Chen of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston saw it in data on more than 100,000 nurses, from 1980 to 2008:

``Even modest levels of alcohol consumption, of about three to six drinks per week, was associated with an increased risk of breast cancer.’’  (7 seconds)

Dr. Chen notes that drinking no more than moderate amounts has been associated with a lower risk of heart disease. And she says the increase in the risk of breast cancer was small.  But she says women should consider it as they balance their risks.

The study in the Journal of the American Medical Association was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

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HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: November 25, 2011