Drinking Alcohol Can Increase the Risk of Breast Cancer

According to a vital body of evidence, drinking ups the risk of breast cancer. Although, women are unaware that drinking habits could affect getting cancer.

These same resources also show that alcohol consumption may increase the risk by up to 7 to 16 percent. After tobacco and excess body weight, alcohol is the third preventable risk factor for cancer. It causes mouth, voice box, throat, liver, and breast cancers. But people don’t take it seriously as they don’t know the link between them.

This blog aims not to shame women but to make them aware. Because the most notable type of cancer from alcohol is breast cancer, the matter is even a tiny amount of consumption may increase it. So let’s understand the link.

Breast cancer and alcohol-

Alcohol raises estrogen levels in the body, increasing the chances of breast cancer. Long time and high levels of this hormone lead to breast cancer risks. Yet, avoiding or cutting alcohol may lower it.

However, there is no safe level of alcohol intake. Here are some factors:

  • Over 10% of alcohol-attributable causes cancer to drinking one bottle of beer or two small glasses of wine per day.
  • 1 in 4 alcohol-attributable cases is breast cancer, so breast cancer risks are higher.

Which types of alcohol cause breast cancer most?

Rather than the type of alcohol, the amount of ethanol affects the risk of breast cancer. It is because every kind of alcohol contains ethanol percentages. For example, 5-ounces wine, 1.5-ounces of 80-proof liquor, and 12 ounces of beer contain the same ethanol (Half an ounce). However, more potent drinks contain more than this.

So, we could say it’s not the type of alcohol that matters but the amount.

How does alcohol raise breast cancer risk?

Not an exact source is present to understand the risk. But Scientists have several theories, including:

Theory 1- Estrogen increases the development of hormone-sensitive breast cancer, as menopausal women are at higher risk.

Theory 2- Alcohol makes it difficult for the body to absorb folate and other nutrients. Yet, folate is crucial for fixing and maintaining DNA. The improper maintenance of DNA damage leads to cell damage that causes cancerous cells.

Theory 3- It works on the link between weight gain and cancer. Alcohol adds extra calories that indirectly contribute to cancer formation.

How can women reduce the risk?

As discussed earlier, no amount of alcohol is safe for breast cancer. But it is only a lifestyle factor we may control rather than others. Many factors affect breast cancer, including genes, physical attributes, and environmental exposure.

Apart from this, here are other activities that matter to diagnose.

How do you diagnose the initial symptoms of breast cancer?

Understand the risk

  • Learn about your family health history (Both sides)
  • Learn about the breast cancer risk

Difference between standard and symptoms

  • Hard knot, lump, or thickness inside the underarm area
  • Itchy, nipple rashes, scaly sore nipples
  • Sudden nipple discharge
  • Chronic pain in one spot
  • Breast size and shape changes
  • Swelling, redness, and darkening in breast

Get screened 

  • Talk with a health care provider for screening and tests
  • Have a mammogram every year after the age of 40
  • Have a clinical breast exam every three years at 20

Lifestyle choices

  • Maintain healthy weight
  • Exercise
  • Limit alcohol intake
  • Breastfeed
  • Ignore menopausal control hormone therapy

Does breast cancer only cause after the age of 40?

Studies show that breast cancer rates are high under age 40. But current data says it is also now seen in the people younger than 40. For example, it’s increasing 3 percent a year in the age of 20 to 29.

However, it’s still less common in younger, but the graph is rising day by day.

Male breast cancer

Rare cancer disease forms in men’s breast tissues. Previously, it is known as a disease in women, but it occurs in men.

Commonly seen in older men, it may occur at any age. Therefore, early diagnosis is a good chance of a cure that includes the removal of breast tissues. However, as per the situation, some other treatments are radiation therapy and chemotherapy.


For women or men, alcohol causes a high risk of breast cancer. So besides debating the right amount of alcohol better, we work to quit it.

Also, early diagnosis and treatment is the second solution that is in hand. So, make an appointment with your doctor if you have any signs or symptoms that worry you.

Schedule your annual health exam at Asian today!

Content Reviewed by – Asian Hospital Medical Editors