Health Discoveries in Breast Cancer

Alcohol consumption may affect breast cancer recurrence

January 11, 2010
Women who have had breast cancer and who drink three to four alcoholic beverages per week may have a 30 percent increased risk of recurrence, according to a new study.

The study by researchers at Kaiser Permanente also showed that the risk of recurrence seemed greater among women who were postmenopausal or overweight. The type of alcohol consumed – wine, beer or liquor – was not a factor, and alcohol consumption was not associated with overall mortality.

"Women previously diagnosed with breast cancer should consider limiting their consumption of alcohol to less than three drinks per week, especially women who are postmenopausal and overweight or obese," said Marilyn Kwan, a staff scientist at Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, Calif.

The research team's findings were presented recently at the American Association for Cancer Research symposium on breast cancer in San Antonio. The results were based on data from a three-year study of nearly 1,900 breast cancer survivors.

The North Shore-LIJ Health System has dozens of cancer-related clinical trials under way through the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research. One of the breast cancer trials involves evaluating whether partial breast radioation or whole breast radiation is more effective for preventing a recurrence of the disease in patients who have had a lumpectomy.
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