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Moderate Drinking May Boost Risk of Breast Cancer's Return
Date:8/30/2010

By Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Aug. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Drinking even moderate amounts of alcohol may raise the risk for breast cancer recurrence in some women, new research indicates.

The association seems confined to former breast cancer patients who are postmenopausal or overweight or obese, the researchers noted.

However, drinking moderately (about three to four drinks per week) was not linked to increased risk for all-cause death, and may in fact lower the risk for dying from a non-breast cancer-related health issue, the study suggests.

The observations are reported in the Aug. 30 online edition of the Journal of Clinical Oncology by a team led by Marilyn L. Kwan, a researcher at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, Calif.

The findings are "consistent with what we already know about alcohol's role in increasing the risk for developing primary breast cancer," said Kwan.

"But I want to emphasize that women who consume less than three to four drinks per week didn't see any increased risk in terms of recurrence or breast cancer death," Kwan added. "And, in fact, we did see a suggestion that women who consume small amounts of alcohol get some protection against the risk of death due to cardiovascular disease." But that finding was not statistically significant, she noted.

Between 2000 and 2002, Kwan and her colleagues recruited about 1,900 women in California and Utah, most of whom had been diagnosed about two or three years earlier with early-stage breast cancer.

To explore the potential relationship between drinking and breast cancer risk, the researchers asked the women to complete a dietary survey, indicating their routine consumption of wine, beer and/or liquor.

Just over half the women were considered drinkers. Nearly nine in 10 drank wine, more than 40 percent consumed liquor, and almost 36 percent drank beer.

Over nearly seven and a half years of f
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