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Drinking May Increase Risk of Breast Cancer
(Supported by NCI; published July 16 issue of Cancer, a journal of the American Cancer Society).

Women with family histories of breast cancer may be at increased risk of the disease if they have one or more alcoholic drinks on a daily basis. That's the conclusion of the latest in a series of studies on the subject...this one from the Mayo Clinic. Researchers examined the interaction of alcohol and family history of breast cancer within 426 multigenerational breast cancer families. Dr. Celine Vachon says there was significantly less cancer among the nondrinkers:

Dr. Vachon: "This study of more than nine-thousand women - 558 of which developed breast cancer - suggests that risks of daily alcohol consumption may be greater for close relatives...mothers or sisters...affected with breast cancer than women without a family history."

While these results support some previous studies, they contradict others:

Dr. Vachon: "There have been maybe seven or eight studies that have really looked at the modification of alcohol and breast cancer by family history or underlying genes, and they're probably half on one side and half on the other, so it looks divided. So, what is the clinical advice...well maybe we need a little more research."

In view of other known dangers of excessive alcohol consumption, says Vachon, women would be wise to drink moderately or, during pregnancy, not at all. For more information, click here.

Created: 10/11/2001  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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