Page last updated May 2017

One alcoholic drink a day found to increase breast cancer risk

One alcoholic drink a day found to increase breast cancer risk

Drinking just one small glass of wine a day could increase your breast cancer risk, a new study has revealed.

The report found that a daily drink with about 10g alcohol content could increase your pre-menopausal breast cancer risk by 5% and your post-menopausal risk by 9%.

The report, from the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF), analysed 119 studies, including data on 12 million women and 260,000 cases of breast cancer. The body estimates that around 12,000 cases of breast cancer could be prevented in the UK each year if nobody drank alcohol.

By studying worldwide research on how diet, weight, and exercise affect breast cancer risk, it also found that exercise that increases heart rate, such as cycling, swimming, or running, can decrease the risk of pre-menopausal breast cancer.

Both moderate exercise, such as walking, and vigorous exercise were found to decrease the risk of post-menopausal breast cancer.

On top of alcohol intake, the report found that being overweight or obese increased the risk of post-menopausal breast cancer, the most common type of breast cancer.

Dr Rachel Thompson, head of research interpretation at the WCRF, said, “To help prevent breast cancer, one of the most important steps women can take is to not drink alcohol, or reduce the amount of alcohol they drink.

“Maintaining a healthy weight and getting enough exercise are also important for preventing breast cancer. It may be the most common cancer in women worldwide, but our evidence shows that there are steps that women can take to significantly reduce their breast cancer risk.”

There are over 55,000 new cases of breast cancer in UK women every single year. It is responsible for more than half a million deaths throughout the world annually.

Current government recommendations advise drinking no more than 14 units a week, spread across at least three days.

One pint of 4% beer contains around two units, while a large glass of wine (250ml) can contain nearly three units, depending on its strength.

Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, chair of the Alcohol Health Alliance, said: “With the evidence on breast cancer and alcohol being so strong, it is vital that consumers are aware of this fact.

“We would encourage policymakers to use this evidence to take actions to help reduce the amount people drink, and therefore reduce the burden of breast cancer in the UK.”

Page last updated May 2017

Imogen Robinson

Imogen was The Femedic’s original Deputy Editor. She joined The Femedic after working as a news reporter. Becoming frustrated with the neverending clickbait, she jumped at the chance to work for a site whose ethos revolves around honesty and empathy. From reading articles by doctors to researching her own, and discussing health with a huge variety of women, she is fascinated by just how little we are told about our own bodies and women-specific health issues, and is excited to be working on a site which will dispel myths and taboos, and hopefully help a lot of women.

View more

More posts like this