The results of a new study just published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) are sobering, indeed. The study found that even moderate drinking of alcohol and breast cancer– as few as 3 to 6 glasses of wine a week — increased a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer.
The study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, found that the risk factor climbed with the amount of alcohol consumed. Furthermore, the risk held steady regardless of whether the alcohol consumed was wine, beer, or liquor.
Conflicting Evidence for Alcohol’s Health Impact
You may find the JAMA study surprising in light of other recent publicity about alcohol’s potential positive health effects. For example, you may have heard that drinking red wine can lower your risk of heart disease. Other recent headlines have touted the anti-aging benefits of resveratrol, found plentifully in red wine.
Other research publicized over the past decade has focused on the potential protection offered by moderate drinking against a host of conditions such as strokes…diabetes…arthritis…enlarged prostate…dementia (including Alzheimer’s disease)…and several major cancers.
But this new study linking moderate drinking of alcohol and breast cancer provides reason for pause, especially in light of the many well-known and already proven risk factors related to drinking alcohol.
“This study doesn’t tell women, ‘don’t drink at all,’’ Dr. Wendy Chen, assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and lead author of the JAMA study, told CNN. “It’s really what someone does on average over a long period of time, not what they did this past month, not what they did this past year.”
Chen and the rest of the team acknowledged the association between moderate drinking and a lower death rate for heart disease. Ultimately, she said, women must weigh the risks and benefits of drinking in relation to their own health histories.