We know that drinking alcohol can raise the risk for a number of cancers, but new research from The American Institute for Cancer Research has shown just how little you have to drink to raise your risk of developing breast cancer. According to the research, just one alcoholic drink a day is enough to increase your breast cancer risk by up to 9 percent.

The report, which is part of the Continuous Update Project (CUP), which monitors and analyzes research on cancer prevention from around the world, found that drinking a single 10 gram glass of alcohol a day increases breast cancer risk in premenopausal women by 6 percent, and postmenopausal women by 9 percent. This news is unsettling considering the standard alcoholic drink usually contain about 14 grams of alcohol. Not all the findings of the report are as grim; the study also found that vigorous exercise, in the form of running or biking, was able to decrease breast cancer risk in premenopausal women by 17 percent and postmenopausal women by 10 percent.

Read: Breast Cancer Prevention 2017: Latest Medical Advice On Mammograms, Biopsies And Prevention

“I was most surprised by the alcohol result, that risk increases at just one drink a day on average,” lead study researchers Dr. Anne Tiernan told Medical Daily in an email. Beer, wine, and spirits all showed the same trend toward increasing risk in both premenopausal and postmenopausal women.

Even though the report found vigorous exercise to have the greatest effect on reducing overall breast cancer risk, Tiernan emphasized that any type of exercise can help to decrease a woman’s cancer risk and improve her overall health. For example, moderate activity, such as walking and gardening, was linked to a 13 percent lower risk when compared to the least active women.

“For postmenopausal women, highest vs. lowest total physical activity was protective. This means any type of physical activity – high, moderate, or low intensity exercise, done as recreational, occupational, transportation, or household activity,” McTiernan told Medical Daily. “And even for young women, if they are currently sedentary, then just getting up and doing something — walking, cycling, gardening — can be helpful.

In addition to alcohol consumption and exercise, the report also revealed information on other possible cancer risks. For example, the research confirmed that being overweight or obese specifically increases the risk of postmenopausal breast cancer, the most common type of breast cancer. In addition, the report identified weight gain in adulthood as a risk factor for postmenopausal breast cancer.

The report found small evidence linking certain dietary choices to both increased and decreased risk for breast cancer. For example, the study found limited evidence to suggest that eating non-starchy vegetables could lower the risk for developing estrogen-receptor (ER) negative breast cancer. In addition, the team found limited evidence to suggest that diets high in dairy, calcium, and carotenoids, a type of nutrient found in vegetables such as spinach and kale, may also lower the risk of some forms of breast cancer.

Source: McTiernan, et al. Diet, nutrition, physical activity, and breast cancer. American Institute for Cancer Research. 2017

See Also:

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