Women who want to avoid breast cancer should go easy on the alcohol, according to a new report. What’s the connection between drinking and breast cancer?
A Collaborative Review of Drinking and Breast Cancer:
The American Institute for Cancer Research and the World Cancer Research Fund collaborated on a systematic review of 119 studies. There were 12 million women included in the analysis.
One drink a day, equivalent to one beer or a small glass of wine, raised the risk of breast cancer by roughly 5 percent in pre-menopausal women and 9 percent in post-menopausal women. Though no one is sure exactly why there is a connection between drinking and breast cancer, the connection is consistent and troubling.
Exercise Lowers the Risk of Breast Cancer:
Exercise, on the other hand, lowered the risk for developing breast cancer. Pre-menopausal women who were very active reduced their risk of breast cancer by 17 percent. Post-menopausal women who exercised vigorously lowered their risk by 10 percent.
World Cancer Research Fund International/American Institute for Cancer Research. Continuous Update Project Report: Diet, Nutrition, Physical Activity and Breast Cancer. 2017.
Previous Research Supports the Benefits of Exercise:
This is not the first time a study has shown that physical activity can help protect a woman from breast cancer. Back in 2012, a study of more than 3,000 women enrolled in the Long Island Breast Cancer Study found that regular physical activity reduced the risk of breast cancer by about 30% (McCullough et al, Cancer, Oct. 1, 2012).
Regular exercise, between 10 and 19 hours a week, during childbearing years reduced the risk of postmenopausal breast cancer by one third. But even women who didn’t start exercising until menopause were less likely to develop breast cancer than their sedentary peers. The message: it’s never too late to start moving.