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Kaiser Permanente study: Alcohol amount, not type -- wine, beer, liquor -- triggers breast cancer
Date:9/26/2007

Oakland, CA -- One of the largest individual studies of the effects of alcohol on the risk of breast cancer shows that it makes no difference whether a woman drinks wine, beer or spirits (liquor). It is the alcohol itself (ethyl alcohol) and the quantity consumed that increases breast cancer risk. In fact, the increased breast cancer risk from drinking three or more alcoholic drinks a day is similar to the increased breast cancer risk from smoking a packet of cigarettes or more a day, according to Kaiser Permanente researchers Yan Li, MD, PhD and Arthur Klatsky, MD.

Population studies have consistently linked drinking alcohol to an increased risk of female breast cancer, but until now there has been little data, most of it conflicting, about an independent role played by the choice of beverage type, said Klatsky, who is presenting these findings on September 27th at the European Cancer Conference (ECCO 14) in Barcelona, Spain.

Li, a Kaiser Permanente oncologist, Klatsky, an investigator with the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, CA and their Kaiser Permanente colleagues studied the drinking habits of 70,033 multi-ethnic women who had supplied information during health examinations between 1978-1985. By 2004, 2,829 of these women were diagnosed with breast cancer. In one analysis, researchers compared the role of total alcohol intake among women who favored one type of drink over another with women who had no clear preference. In another analysis, researchers looked at the possible independent role of frequency of drinking each beverage type. Finally, they examined the role of total alcohol intake, comparing it with women who drank less than one alcoholic drink a day.

The study found there was no difference between wine, beer or spirits in the risk of developing breast cancer. Even when wine was divided into red and white, there was no difference. However, when researchers looked at the relationship between breast can
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Contact: Danielle Cass
danielle.x.cass@kp.org
510-267-5354
Kaiser Permanente Division of Research
Source:Eurekalert

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