I wish that all of these studies linking cancer and alcohol consumption had come out when I was in college. Not that I necessarily would have put down my wine cooler and read them. But, one can always imagine, right? Still, it seems like every time you turn around now, someone is telling you how bad drinking is for you. Can't we go back to that time when wine was supposed to make you live forever? What happened to that? That was fun, right? But anyway, we're in the downer years for booze -- when pretty much any drop of the stuff is going to send you into a premature grave. A new major study links alcohol consumption to breast cancer.
According to the study, drinking just one alcoholic drink a day -- one glass of wine after work; one beer with dinner; one shot of tequila before you get into bed (we all do that, right?) -- can increase your chances of getting breast cancer. Delayed childbearing can also increase your breast cancer risk. So you ladies who opted out of childrearing to party -- here's your comeuppance! I kid, I kid, but these studies are like after us, eh?!
Anyhoo, this research is the first study to concentrate on those drinking years between first menstruation and first pregnancy -- probably the time when most women drank the most. Except for those moms who began drinking like fish to ease the stress of motherhood. But don't worry, your bummer study will come at some later date.
These years are, of course, the drinking years for a lot of us -- high school and college. Your risk increased 11 percent for every six drinks per week. Which seems like a lot of breast cancer!
Researchers seem to think that breast tissue is more susceptible to environmental risk factors like alcohol before pregnancy -- because pregnancy causes cellular changes that make breast tissue less susceptible to cancer.
Scarily, a woman's lifetime risk of getting breast cancer is one in eight. That's a pretty big chance! Which apparently increases if you were a big drinker in your non-pregnancy years. Or even a moderate drinker. I mean, most women I knew in my teens and 20s didn't drink one drink a day -- but they certainly made up for it on the weekends!
The study concludes that women who haven't yet had their first pregnancy should limit their alcohol consumption to less than one drink a day.
Could the "healthy" beer a day habit my grandmother had for decades have contributed to her breast cancer? Hmmm. Hey, let's go back to that time when one drink a day was just fiiiiiine. 'Memba that?
Are you feeling as doomed as I am?
Image via Steampunk Family the von Hedwigs/Flickr