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Drinking alcohol ups breast cancer risk - study

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By David Liu

Alcoholic beverages have already been recognized as carcinogens, that is, using them can increase cancer risk.  Now a new study in the journal, Pediatrics confirms that teenage girls drinking alcohol are at higher risk for benign breast disease, which is known to be associated with high risk for breast cancer.

You may hear doctors saying that drinking alcohol may help reduce the heart risk.  That is not the case, in fact some researchers deliberately classified drinkers who had health problems and quit because of their health conditions as non-drinkers in a way that non-drinkers had more health problems than drinkers did.

Studies have shown that 10 grams of alcohol per day increases the risk for breast cancer by 7 to 10 percent in adult women.  That is, drinking one can of beer or 4-ounce wine gets the drinker at least 11 grams of alcohol.

The current study found a dose-dependent relationship between alcohol drinking during adolescence and the development of proliferative benign breast disease, which is known to elevate the risk for breast cancer four times.

Some researchers speculated that alcohol intake may lower the serum levels of folate, a vitamin which is involved in gene expression and DNA repair.  Left unrepaired, injured DNA can become cancerous.

Breast cancer kills about 50,000 women in the United States each year and the disease is diagnosed in about 200,000 women each year in the country, according to the National Cancer Institute.  Breast cancer is in many cases preventable. There are many things men and women can do to reduce the risk.

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