Risk of breast cancer raised by alcohol in women with a family history

August 14, 2001 in Cancer Prevention, Women's Health

Risk of breast cancer raised by alcohol in women with a family history

Drinking alcohol daily may more than double the risk of developing breast cancer among women with a close relative with the disease, but is unlikely to have an effect among women with no such family history, a study at the Mayo Clinic found.

The researchers examined 426 families with a history of breast cancer, including 9,032 women who were either blood relatives of patients or who had married into their families. Women who were first-degree relatives (mother, sister, daughter) of the women with breast cancer and were daily drinkers had twice the increased risk of breast cancer compared to first-degree relatives who never drank.

By comparison, women who had married into the family but were not blood relatives had no higher risk of breast cancer if they were daily drinkers than if they never drank. Second-degree relatives such as grandparents and aunts only had a slightly higher risk of developing breast cancer if they drank daily.

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