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Breast Cancer Risk: How Much Alcohol Is Too Much?

By Expert HERWriter
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how much alcohol does it take to increase your risk for breast cancer iStockphoto/Thinkstock

A couple of years ago major research concluded that alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer, which caused many to grieve their nightly glass of wine.

A 2012 updated analysis was done in order to determine across several studies, how much is too much and why is it so bad for breast cells?

Unfortunately for those who like a cocktail after a long day, the research still stands that more than one glass per day (or seven per week) increases the risk of breast cancer, with the greatest risk in those who drink three or more glasses per day (21 per week).

Keep in mind that a "glass of wine" is considered a 5-ounce pour, which is equivalent to one shot of hard alcohol or 12 ounces of beer. The average shot glass holds 1-1.5 ounces of alcohol so if you need a wine conversion, that is three to five shots of wine per glass.

Considering a standard wine glass holds 8-10 ounces, how many of you honestly only drink a 5 ounce glass at one sitting?

When looking at breast cancer, the development is obviously multi-faceted, however alcohol consumption can be a key player. Many studies link the carcinogenic effect to the increase in estrogen from the alcohol as estrogen itself is a risk for breast cancer.

Alcohol is also known to stimulate estrogen receptors in the breast tissue meaning it can turn them on inappropriately leading to abnormal cell creation.

As estrogen gets processed through the liver it turns into one of three secondary metabolites, of which two of those three are more cancerous.

Remember that the liver is also busy processing the alcohol and may not clear estrogen appropriately as a result.

Speaking of which, when alcohol flows through the liver it temporarily turns into acetalaldehyde which is also carcinogenic and capable of damaging DNA through the creation of reactive oxygen species.

Damaged DNA in a cell can lead to cancer proliferation.

Given this information, research still recommends only drinking one glass (reference above for ounces) per day at a maximum for healthy women and less if you are at an increased risk for breast cancer.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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