New research suggests a relationship between alcohol use and increased risk of recurring breast cancer, Reuters Health reported April 1.
Previous studies had determined that women with a history of cancer in one breast have increased risk of developing cancer in the second breast, but the new findings suggest “a 30-percent higher risk in those who (ever) drank alcohol compared to those who did not,” said Julia Knight, co-author of the study.
Researchers from Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto compared drinking patterns and cigarette smoking among women with a history of cancer in one breast who had (708 women) or had not (1,399 women) developed cancer in their second breast.
They found no significant increased risk associated with cigarette smoking, but regular alcohol consumption resulted in elevated risk of developing cancer in the second breast. A longer duration of alcohol consumption appeared to increase risk for a second occurrence of breast cancer, as well.
While calling for further investigations to increase knowledge of how drinking patterns affect risk, Knight said that “based on what we know now …. it is better for women to avoid drinking a lot in general.”
The study appeared in the February 2009 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology.