I’ve been reading about alcohol and breast cancer and general bad news if you take alcohol


I presume you are referring to the World Cancer Research Fund that published its report in May 2017 looking at a wide range of lifestyle issues relating to breast cancer risk including alcohol intake. In the UK 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer.

The report emphasises the risk of many types of cancer if you drink too much alcohol but what is too much? There is an interesting table in the report showing that out of 1000 women, 116 would get breast cancer in their lifetime drinking no alcohol. Up to three units a day (a unit is dependent on the strength of the alcohol as well as the volume) -the number increases to 121 i.e. an extra 5 cases. Then you jump to 143 which means an extra 27 and of course more than 6 units a day there are an extra 70 cases. Probably the worst type of drinking is binge drinking e.g. having excessive units over a short period of time such as a weekend. Interestingly, there is some research suggesting that drinking less than two drinks a day could in fact lengthen your life. One of the links tends to be looking at the Mediterranean diet-having some alcohol with a meal as well as fish, vegetables and fruit.

If everything else in your life is healthy-you take part in regular exercise, you’re not overweight and you have a healthy diet then having the odd glass of wine should not be a problem. Always check with your doctor if you have a particular medical condition.

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