Woman with moderate amounts of alcohol may stimulates the growth of breast cancer

Woman with Moderate Amounts of Alcohol May Stimulates the Growth and Progression

Each year, 233,000 American women die of cardiovascular disease, 65,000 die from complications of hip fractures (commonly as a result of osteoporosis) and 43,000 die of breast cancer. Although breast cancer is the more feared of these three health issues, it is actually a less serious problem than either cardiovascular disease or osteoporosis. When doctors are deciding whether to put a patient on estrogen replacement therapy, they need to carefully weigh the risks that the patient has for each of these health issues.


In 2000,breast cancer accounted for 22% of all new cancers in women, making it by far the most common cancer in females. In high-income countries, the proportion rises to 27%, more than twice as common as any other cancer in women.While the ultimate goal of breast cancer screening is to reduce mortality from the disease, the immediate goal is to detect cancers before they become clinically evident.

Nearly 112,000 deaths per year may be attributable to obesity.The risk of death rises with increasing weight.Even moderate weight excess (10 to 20 pounds for a person of average height) increases the risk of death, particularly among adults aged 30 to 64 years.Overweight and obesity are associated with an increased risk for some types of cancer including endometrial (cancer of the lining of the uterus), colon, gall bladder, prostate, kidney and postmenopausal breast cancer.

Obesity as a compound risk factor per se as well as to the composition of the diet such as lack of fruit and vegetables and high salt intake. Lack of physical activity has a distinct role as risk factor for cancer. There is solid evidence about alcohol causing several cancer types such as oesophagus, pharynx, larynx, liver, breast, and other cancer types.Differences in exercise and dietary intake of certain nutrients may also influence exposure to estrogen. Studies of the relation between the risk of breast cancer and intakes of alcohol, fat, antioxidant vitamins, and fiber have had conflicting results. Plants contain phytoestrogens, which are structurally similar to physiologic estrogens.

Soybeans are an abundant source of phytoestrogens, and when ingested in relatively large amounts, they have both estrogen agonist and antagonist effects in humans and animals. Flaxseed is a rich dietary source of both mammalian lignans and {alpha}-linoleic acid, which exert antiestrogenic effects by both binding to the estrogen receptor and inhibiting the synthesis of estrogen.34 The incidence of breast cancer is lowest in regions where the intake of soy and flaxseed is high. However, it is uncertain whether this inverse association is a direct result of phytoestrogen or flaxseed intake or whether it is a marker of other factors related to risk.

Some risk factors for breast cancer are out of our control, such as being female, over age 50, your genetic make-up, and certain environmental exposures.Women who consume more than one alcoholic drink a day have about a 20 percent greater risk of breast cancer than do women who don't drink.

Some studies suggest that the more alcohol you drink, the greater your risk of breast cancer.The use of alcohol is clearly linked to an increased risk of developing breast cancer. Compared with women who do not drink, women who consume one alcoholic beverage a day have a very small increase in risk, and those who have two to five drinks daily have about 1½ times the risk of women who drink no alcohol. The American Cancer Society recommends limiting your consumption of alcohol.

As little as 10 grams of alcohol a day — an average drink contains about 15 grams of alcohol — may increase your lifetime risk of breast cancer by 10 percent. The type of alcohol consumed — wine, beer or mixed drinks — seems to make no difference. To help protect against breast cancer, limit the amount of alcohol you drink to less than one drink a day or avoid alcohol completely.

A woman drinking an average of two units of alcohol per day has a lifetime risk of developing breast cancer 8% higher than a woman who drinks an average of one unit of alcohol per day. The risk of breast cancer further increases with each additional drink consumed per day. The research also concludes that approximately 6% (between 3.2% and 8.8%) of breast cancers reported in the UK each year could be prevented if drinking was reduced to a very low level (i.e. less than 1 unit/week).

It has been reported that "two drinks daily increase the risk of getting breast cancer by about 25 percent" (NCI), but the evidence is inconsistent.Breast cancer constitutes about 7.3% of all cancers. Among women, breast cancer comprises 60% of alcohol-attributable cancers. One study suggests that women who frequently drink red wine may have an increased risk of developing breast cancer.The new research estimates that a woman drinking an average of two units of alcohol per day has a lifetime risk of developing breast cancer 8% higher than a woman who drinks an average of one unit of alcohol per day.[20] The risk of breast cancer further increases with each additional drink consumed per day.

A study in mice shows that moderate alcohol consumption stimulates the growth and progression of breast cancer by fueling the development of new blood vessels -- a process called "angiogenesis." It does this by boosting expression of a key growth factor known as vascular endothelial growth factor or VEGF.

Drinking alcohol -- even moderate amounts - is a well-established risk factor for breast cancer in women. A recent study found that 60 percent of breast cancer cases in women worldwide were attributable to alcohol consumption. But the mechanism(s) of alcohol-induced breast cancer are poorly understood.

Dr. Jian-Wei Gu and colleagues from the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson examined the effects of alcohol on tumor growth and progression of breast cancer in mice.

For 4 weeks, 6-week old female mice consumed regular drinking water or water containing 1 percent alcohol, which is equivalent to about 2 to 4 drinks in humans. In week 2, the animals were inoculated with mouse breast cancer cells.

"We found after about 4 weeks that breast tumor size almost doubled in mice that drank alcohol compared to control mice given plain water," Gu noted in a telephone interview with Reuters Health. Moderate alcohol intake also caused a noteworthy increase in tumor blood vessels compared with no alcohol intake.

The team also observed a significant increase in VEGF levels in the tumors of mice consuming alcohol compared to the tumors of control mice.

"VEGF can promote the formation of new blood vessels," Gu said. "This suggests that alcohol can induce tumor angiogenesis."

He presented the research at the American Physiological Society's annual meeting, part of Experimental Biology 2007, underway in Washington DC.

The risk of breast cancer recurrence is highest within the first five years after treatment, and survivors have three times the risk of having a recurrence as women who never had cancer. Even after a mastectomy, breast cancer can return, so no matter what the form of treatment, all breast cancer survivors should get yearly mammograms.

"It is imperative that efforts be made to increase awareness among healthcare providers and breast cancer survivors of the value of follow-up mammography.

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