Drinking May Boost Cancer Risk, but What Doesn’t?

red wineI think I'm going to need a glass of wine just to take in today's cancer-related headline: Even moderate amounts of regular alcohol consumption is linked with breast cancer. This isn't new, actually. The latest study just confirms what other studies have already shown. And as usual researchers won't say drinking moderately actually leads to cancer ... exactly ... per se.

But hey, I've got a dozen or so other reports touting the health benefits of moderate alcohol consumption in my back pocket here, so la la la, I can't hear you, breast cancer study! Risk for breast cancer, please meet reduced risk for heart disease. And reduced risk for stroke, cataracts, colon cancer, and type-2 diabetes. And did I mention a little vino also slows down brain decline?


The newest study appears to affirm that three to six drinks a week is associated with a 15 percent increased risk for breast cancer. It doesn't matter if the drinking starts early or later in life. Women who drank an average of 30 grams of alcohol every day saw a 50 percent increased risk for breast cancer.

Heck, even if you do get cancer, apparently wine may help you fight it. Or not. The thing is, teasing out the possible lifestyle choices connected to cancer just puts us regular people in a big, sticky, confusing web of maybes. Supposedly antiperspirant, sunscreen, and hair dye can also put you at risk for cancer.

When I pull back and look at everything I've ever heard about moderate drinking, it all adds up to a net zero. It's probably not going to kill you. It's definitely not going to turn you into a superhero. It may help you relax and worry less about all the diseases lurking about ready to spring on you. So as long as drinking really does stay moderate, I say eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we may get cancer but today that rosé really does go well with the chicken.

Do you weigh possible cancer risks when you drink alcohol?


Image via TheCulinaryGeek/Flickr

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