Can alcohol consumption cause cancer? Actually, it might. A column by Melinda Beck in The Wall Street Journal says that regular drinking—even just two drinks a day— raises the risk of breast cancer.
The statistics are sobering:
- Men who consume three or more alcoholic drinks a day have a 41% higher risk of dying of cancer.
- Women who drink two or more drinks a day have a 20% higher risk of dying of cancer.
- Women who have three drinks a week have a 15% higher risk of developing breast cancer.
- Girls aged 9 to 15 who drink three to five drinks a week have three times the risk of developing benign breast lumps. (Certain categories of non-cancerous breast lumps are associated with a higher risk of breast cancer later in life.)
- Experts estimate that the risk of breast cancer goes up another 10% for each additional drink women regularly have each day.
For many of us, our social lives hinge on drinking. It can be hard to stay away from alcohol at parties, weddings, and other social gatherings. However, cutting back on cocktails doesn’t have to mean cutting back on seeing your friends and family. If you’re not sure if you can avoid the bar, keep your health in mind. Remember that you’re keeping your risk of breast and other cancers as low as possible.
A trick for avoiding alcohol in social situations? Order a non-alcoholic beverage that looks just like an alcoholic drink. It makes you feel like one of the gang and no one will ask questions. For instance, ask for club soda with a splash of cranberry juice and a wedge of lime for a foolproof virgin vodka cranberry.
If you like to dive down into the research, check out the journal with all of the details.