Alcohol consumption seen raising breast cancer risk

Women who drink the alcoholic equivalent of more than one 350-ml can of beer a day are three times more likely to get breast cancer than those who do not drink at all, a group of researchers at Aichi Medical University said Tuesday.

“Large amounts of alcohol may increase the amount of estrogen, which helps breast cancer to develop,” said Lin Yingsong, a teacher at the university and part of the research group led by professor Shogo Kikuchi.

The research is based on an epidemiological survey conducted on about 36,000 women aged 40 to 79 across Japan for an average of 7 1/2 years.

Of the women studied, 151 contracted breast cancer. Of those, the number who drank more than 15 grams of alcohol a day was 2.93 times higher than the number of nondrinkers, the research shows.

Women who drink less than 15 grams of alcohol a day showed no difference in the incidence of breast cancer from those who do not drink, according to the study.

A 350-ml can of beer contains about 14 grams of alcohol, while 180 ml of sake contains some 22 grams of alcohol.

The group plans to publish the results of the study, which was funded by the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry, at a three-day annual meeting of the Japanese Cancer Association starting Sept. 29 in Fukuoka.