If you have been reading along over the last few days, you know that we have been making excellent progress in taking action based on the knowledge we have gained over the first half of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Today, we reach the middle of my 7-Day Prescription for Healthier Breasts. Let’s continue proactively moving forward in our fight against breast cancer.


Day 4 is the day to eliminate alcohol, or reduce the amount that you drink on a weekly basis.

If you have 1 drink per day every day of the week, you increase your risk of breast cancer by about 7% [1]. Two drinks per day every day of the week increases your risk by about 13% [2]. Even 3 to 6 drinks per week increased risk to 8% [2]. Experts believe that alcohol consumption increases the amount of estrogen in your body [3]. One study concluded that alcohol accounts for 11% of breast cancer cases in England [2]. Similarly, the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) believes 11% of US breast cancer cases are related to alcohol intake [4]. Cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, and livers were also increased. Drinking combined with smoking is even more deadly. A study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found that survivors who have one or more drinks per day have a 90% increased risk of recurrence [5].

Women who had 2 drinks or less per week did not show an increase in breast cancer risk. The evidence shows that total alcohol consumed is the most important factor, not the type of alcohol consumed.

Tomorrow… Day 5…


1. Collaborative Group of Hormonal Factors in Breast Cancer. Alcohol, tobacco and breast cancer – collaborative re-analysis of individual data from 53 epidemiological studies, including 58,515 women with breast cancer and 95,067 women without the disease. British Journal of Cancer 2002; 87:1234-1245.

2. Allen NE, Beral V, Casabonne D, Kan SW, Reeves GK, Brown A, Green J, on behalf of the Million Women Study Collaborators. Moderate alcohol intake and cancer incidence in women. Journal of the National Cancer Institute 2009; 101:296-305.

3. Reichman ME, Judd JT, Longcope C, Schatzkin A, Clevidence BA, Nair PP, Campbell WS, Taylor PR. Effects of alcohol consumption on plasma and urinary hormone concentrations in premenopausal women. Journal of the National Cancer Institute 1993; 85:722-727.

4. World Cancer Research Fund / American Institute for Cancer Research. Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and the Prevention of Cancer: a Global Perspective. Washington DC: AICR, 2007

5. Li CI, Daling JR, Porter PL, Tang MT, Malone KE. Relationship between potentially modifiable lifestyle factors and risk of second primary contralateral breast cancer among women diagnosed with estrogen receptor-positive invasive breast cancer. Journal of Clinical Oncology 2009; 27:5312-5318.

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