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Study: Drinking alcohol increases the risk of developing breast cancer

Doctors warn against binge drinking and the increased risk of developing breast cancer.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The next time you pour a glass of wine with dinner, you might want to consider the impact it could have on your health, especially when it comes to the development of breast cancer.  

Dr. Scott Graupner with Lexington Oncology says, "we've known for a number of years now that alcohol has had a relationship with an increased risk of breast cancer."  

The American Cancer Society has research that links seven cancers to alcohol use and breast cancer is on that list.  According to Dr. Graupner,  there is an increasing risk with each additional drink above daily drinking and women who binge drink tend to have an even higher risk of breast cancer.  Graupner also says it doesn't look like the type of alcohol really matters because the mutations in the mammary glands happen over time with heavy use.  Alcohol can raise estrogen levels in the body, which may explain some of the increased risk. 

There are some things you can do today to improve your overall health.  Doctors encourage you to reduce the amount of alcohol you consume, improve your diet and exercise, know your family history of cancer diagnosis, and talk to your doctor about the right time for you to begin your mammogram.  According to Dr. Graupner, "Breast cancer caught at an early stage is very treatable, whereas breast cancer caught at a late stage can be incurable."

Early detection is the key to treating breast cancer.  Remember to perform your monthly self breast exam, and also call your buddy to remind them.