Breast Cancer: Know the risks

By Drum Digital
01 October 2010

Every year one in 29 South African women is diagnosed with breast cancer. Worldwide, the blame for this dreaded disease is mostly placed on an increasingly unhealthy lifestyle of eating fat-laden foods, drinking too much alcohol and doing too little exercise.

October is breast cancer awareness month, so we take a look at the known risk factors and investigate whether you should take them seriously.

Alcohol Consumption

Theory The more regularly you drink, the higher your chance of developing breast cancer at some point in your life, numerous studies have shown. The theory is that alcohol changes the hormone levels in the body, boosting oestrogen, which is known to stimulate the growth of breast cancer.

“Another theory is that alcohol can make cell membranes more permeable to cancer-causing agents,” says Professor Justus Apffelstaedt, associate professor at the University of Stellenbosch and head of the breast clinic at Tygerberg Hospital.

Studies show that women who drink more than two glasses of alcohol a day have about one-and-a-half times the risk of developing breast cancer than women who drink fewer than two glasses a week.

Expert Comment Studies clearly show that alcohol causes cancer, and breast cancer in particular. Cutting back on your alcohol intake is one of the best ways of reducing the risk of developing the disease.

Evidence for link

Strong

Read the full article in DRUM of 10 October 2010

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