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Yet another article in the Mail linking alcohol consumption with BC

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Yet another article in the Mail linking alcohol consumption with BC

Just wondered if anyone else has seen the article in today's Mail with the heading "Two glasses of wine a day increases BC risk by 50%". Apparently, a new study of almost 185,000 women found that even moderate drinking significantly incresases the risk of the disease. If this study is proven legitimate, it certainly seems like sod's law that even enjoying a glass of wine in the evening can mean that you are putting your health at risk. What does everyone else think? Do you really think there is a link between alcohol and BC? I like to have a glass of wine (small measure) in the evening with my dinner, but wouldn't like to think that I could be increasing my chances of a recurrence by 50%.

39 REPLIES 39
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There is no "rhyme nor reason" with this sh&*%y thing call cancer. Why do some people live to 80 or 90 and smoke 40 a day and drink excess alcohol (and just "die of old age"/whatever), and then there are kids out there dying aged under 5 who get cancer and die? Or us folk in the middle who get breast cancer (and some of us make it).

The person who finds out what causes cancer will be on their way to a Nobel prize. But with the drugs industry running into billions of dollars a year turnover, is it in anyone's interest to actually find a cure? I am sure that there are "natural" cures out there, but because they can't be patented, who is interested?

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Just waded through this thread. interesting.
had wine with my supper and whilst preparing it. Have done the beating myself up over alcohol causing bc, but I have it and that is that. My only sister died in July due to Bowel cancer aged only 42. We shared many a bottle of wine or champers. I know neither of us would wanted it ant different we just enjoyed ourselves.
We should all be more worried about what is in our food. From oestrogen fed chicken and other meats to what preservatives and carcinogens (E numbers ) in most food sources. what chemicals are sprayed on fruit and veg to keep them 'FRESH' whilst getting transported from one side of the globe to another. the media just likes us all to feel guilty about everything.

since my lovely sister died I have tried to think differently about life. I am on femara now for the next 4 years, tamoxifen made me feel awful . Herceptin till xmas. When i reach the five years and the meds stop.....will it all come back? Who knows, so what is the bloody point in spending the time punishing and worrying myself .I have put on nearly 4 stone since dx in January 2007. having had my ovaries removed in January this year I am doing the spayed lab thing....packing on the weight like no tomorrow and where the sweet tooth has appeared from heaven knows.
I now have a 42g size 'breast form' and a 42d on other side.....but a flat stomach as had TRAM recon immediately after mastectomy.
But at the end of the day I am still here....my sister doesn t have that luxury.... and I know she would say to me...so what your bigger than you were and you have a funny boob, but your still alive and that's what matters.
And that is what matters......we have just one life .ENJOY IT!!!
And Sheana life does suck ...I have had a failed business, bankruptcy, house repossessed, court hearing,4 house moves, sister diagnosed with bowel cancer resulting in her having miscarriage at 23 weeks and all in 5 years. But crappy things seem to happen to those who CAN cope. I thought about writing a book..... but think people would not believe it was true!!!!!!
Good luck to us all......when it comes down to it i think it is just luck.
becks
xxxx

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Hi cathy,

Thanks again!

I agree totally with you that what you go through in life builds your personality and like you, I deal with things easily that some people fall to pieces at. I hope that doesn't sound conceited.

Dealing with alcoholism is a daily battle and I will admit that when I ws dx, the temptation crossed my mind to get plastered. But I didn't and thank god for that because it wouldn't have solved a thing. I had to be strong because I had sole responsibility for my two sons who were 14 and 11 at the time.

I'm sorry that your life has been tough too, with your share of tragedies.......my dad died after my first chemo and I had to organise his funeral with my brother because my mum couldn't cope. Picking out his coffin was so difficult with many thoughts racing through my head........wondering how long it would be until my brother would be choosing mine. But I got through it because I had to, like you have and gained strength as well.

I must admit though Cathy, I would quite like a bit of luck to come my way!!! I'm sure you and I both deserve it!

Sheana x

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Hi Sheana

To be able to pick yourself up from alcoholism and start off again in life must be one of the hardest things to do. My father was an alcoholic so I know what life with one is like and he died of a stroke aged 49, mostly down to drinking, smoking and other poor lifestyle habits. I know what you mean about life being tragic sometimes. My son had cancer as a baby (is OK now) my mother and father died off fairly young in life, then I get BC. I look at others who seem to have lived a charmed life with no major catastrophes etc and it does make you wonder why? Yet, I still feel somehow I have gained a lot of strength from all these crises or whatever you want to call them and have been able to prioritise in life what matters and what doesn't. Those who seemed to have sailed through life are affected so badly by the most trivial of problems that I wouldnt give a second thought to now and I wonder what will happen if and when something major hits them. My mother in law, who has never been ill or had any problems as such, goes to pieces when her washing machine breaks down!! God help her if she ever faces a big challenge!!! As for you being doomed - I think you have already shown a great strength of character and have faced things in life that would have destroyed many others. Take some happiness from that!!

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Hi Cathy,

Thanks for those kind words. I must admit that life feels tough sometimes....I hit thebottle big time towards the end of my very unhappy marriage but gave up when I left him and have never drunk again. I got my life back on track and was devastated when I developed breast cancer 4 years later.......I just feel doomed sometimes to have an unhappy, tragic life.

Sheana x

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Hi Sheana

It is very brave of you to admit to this on a forum and for that I have the strongest admiration for you. However, I really, really don't feel that you should blame yourself for having breast cancer. There are many thousands of women who have BC who have never drunk to excess and many alcoholics who never have had BC. My oncologist is adamant there is a weak connection between BC and alcohol and it is more likely that those who drink heavily, also have an unhealthy lifestyle, which may in turn have some effect on immunity and cancer prevention. I am not condoning heavy drinking and I think you must have a will of iron to have quit drinking, but the last thing you need is to think you have caused this.

Cathy
x

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Hi,

Big confession time girls................

I'm a recovering alcoholic. I gave up booze over 6 years ago.....dx with breast cancer 2 and a half years ago and have always thought there was a connection.

Could be my fault after all.

Sheana x

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I wouldn't give credence to anything the Daily Mail printed! It's a vile rag.

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well my friend Dx 2 wks ago total tea total anti drink person, like my mum and best friend were.
Need I say more???
Rx

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My OH always says that just living from day to day can kill you as there is risk in everything now. I am more careful than I was - we were in London for 20 years and I had a big after work social life. I also used to work in a gallery where it was the norm for staff to crack open a bottle after the visitors had left and we were closing up.

I didn't really drink at all when I was on chemo, on FEC I used to have a couple of glasses during every 3 week cycle. I had nothing on rads and nothing on Taxotere as I was too ill. I now limit any wine to either a Friday or Saturday evening or when we are out for a nice meal.

I also smoked an average of 5 Silk Cut a day, but had given up before my BC diagnosis. Must admit though, I did have a few week moments when I was ill and I did buy the odd packet from time to time. I sometimes see myself as very fortunate. When I worked in London I lived in the shadow of some of the worst IRA bombings (worked in the City when they bombed the Baltic Exchange and Bishopsgate) and we had just got out of London a year before the tube bombings - I could have been caught up in any of those events. My OH would have been involved in the Paddington train crash, but the appointment he was due to go to was cancelled the afternoon before. The only way to avoid things would be to live like a hermit in a sealed bubble if you ask me.

A big problem for me is people being judgmental - my sister is in Saudi and doesn't drink much when she is here. When she is here she makes a point about how we don't really drink any more and I just know she thinks thinks this is how I got BC because she is a sanctimonious bitch at times. When I was at my sickest last year after being in hospital for a week in isolation she said to my OH "you pair used to drink far too much". He could have quite happily slapped her given the year we had just been through.

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The problem with all the research mentioned is that they are usually longitutidnal studies, conducted over many years, with many different people, with many different lifestyles. It may be possible to identify certain risk factors involved with the development of certain diseases, but impossible to say that they definitely are the cause. It is like Sir Richard Doll's studies with smoking linked to lung cancer. We all now accept that if you smoke, you are more at risk of lung cancer than a non smoker, but doesnt mean you will definitely get lung cancer if you smoke, or that you definitely wont if you dont smoke. I guess smoking is a poor example as there is nothing beneficial about smoking, but alcohol in very small amounts can be beneficial. However, in large amounts it is harmful, not just for breast cancer but for many other diseases. Personally, I am willing to take the risk of drinking wine at the weekends even though it may increase my risk of breast cancer more. I am also willing to travel to work in a car, fly, take the train, walk by myself after dark etc etc.

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The trouble is we keep getting contradictory information. This is a more recent article from the Telegraph, saying something completely different from the Mail:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/2262150/Red-wine-could-help-prevent-breast-cancer.html

I know which I prefer to believe, but how can we really know?

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I only have the occasional drink at weddings etc, have never smoked and not over weight, have always eaten a reasonable diet. I come from a big family ( lots of females ) who all smoke and like to drink moderately,most have suffered side effects from smoking while i have always been the healthy one, yet i am the one who has breast cancer ???? so how does the people who do the research work this out ???

Mary

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Since my dx in June I have tormented myself as to the reasons why I got BC. No family history, breast fed 3 children, but I have enjoyed a glass or two of red wine for a few years and even more so since living in France. I thought red wine was meant to be good for the heart and blood system and people with heart problems are encouraged to have a glass or two, particularly Chilean wine (something about the grapes perhaps?).

At the end of the day, everyday life is a risk and its no good denying ourselves a little of what we enjoy. We could leave the house tomorrow and be knocked down by a bus.

So, I will endeavour to cut down on alchohol consumption, in fact these days with chemo and side effects and medication etc. I hardly touch it, but I do miss a drink.

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The last thing anyone with cancer needs is to be repeatedly told that they are, effectively, repsonsible for their own illness. There are many people who follow all of the advice about reducing risk and still get cancer- I was one of them. However there are factors that many of us can't do anything about- like growing up in a heavily industrialised area and both of my parents smoking. And the guidance is about reducing risk, not removing it, which the media fails to highlight. As for the Daily Mail- let's not go there.

Geraldine

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cheers everyone!

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Interested to read the alchol issue coming up yet again.
I always 'kicked' against the alchol having something to do with me getting BC but recently i have been having second thoughts.

After my mum died in 2004 i resorted to drinking wine every evening to get me through it all. Before this i had been almost tea total except for the occasional lager, except for during teen yrs.

DX Oct 2005. My Bc nurse and Surgeon and Onc have said that i have not brought BC on myself which i have often thought i have done because of drinking too much.

However recently i have drank far less alchol and my hot flushes have decreased so much and i feel different. From that i think alchol affects me more than i thought and am again coming to the conclusion we are better off with out it.

Rx

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The Daily Mail drives me bonkers with its sensationalising of every bit of breast cancer resaerch. It does it both ways...and rarely explains the evidence it is reporting on (this week abut a risk factor link...last week about a new wonder drug and 'cure' which if you unpick was just about very early trials on existing drugs).

However...there is sufficient research to suggest that alcohol consupmtion does increase breast cancer risk...which is not the same as saying it 'causes' all breast cancer. There is not the same evidence for dairy at all.

Lots of people who didn't drink get breast cancer like a fair number who don't smoke get lung cancer, but that is not to say the risk factor isn't there and real. Breakthrough Breast Cancer has good information on its site about understanding risk in general and about drink risk in particular. I used to drink very heavily and accept without guilt that this may (or may not) be one contributory factor towards my own breast cancer....just as my short menstrual cycle and no children/ no breastfeeding history may be, I still drink (shutting the stable door late no good!). I think the research on alcohol is well grounded but also know that the causes of breast cancer are likely to be a complex combination of various factors. (which don't include stress, deodorants, or knocks on the breast.)

Jane

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I didn't drink at all, didn't stop me getting BC. I do now!! what the heck.

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As someone who enjoys wine, I have asked my oncologist twice now, about the link between BC and alcohol (he will really think I am a lush!!). He categorically said that the two questions he gets asked about most is alcohol and dairy regarding breast cancer risks and says that nothing has been really proven. I raise my glass to that!!

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If alochol makes us happy and eases our daily path then that's no bad thing. Everything done in the past is untouchable so there's no point in beating ourselves up over 'have I drunk too much' etc.

If we are participating on these forums, then we all know what tough times we've had to deal with.

Dawnflower

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I have drunk very little alcohol for years because I had very bad migraines. However, I was definitely overweight and my cancer was very strongly oestrogen positive. I weigh a lot less now and take a lot more exercise and I feel better for it. It's possibly a pity I didn't do this years ago, but who knows??

And while on chemo and ever since I have had very few migraines - but I wouldn't recommend having BC to other migraine sufferers as a way of reducing their headaches!

Anne

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In Susan Love's breast book alcohol consumption is listed as one of the risk factors for breast cancer. It does state that alcohol has received less attention in relation to it being a risk factor despite the data being more solid. Apparently " a number of studies suggest that drinking alcoholic beverages, even in moderate amounts, may increase your risk of breast cancer".

"An analysis of six prospective studies found an increasing risk of breast cancer as larger amounts of alcohol are drunk. as your consumption rises, so does your risk".

Another large study found there was no link between what you drank in your distant past and that "While recent consumption of three or more drinks per day was associated with a doubling of the risk, what you drank between 16 and 29 had little effect". It states that the explanation for this is that consumption of 2 alcoholic drinks a day increased estrogen in the blood of pre-menopausal women while 1 alcoholic drink acutely increased esrogen levels in postmenopausal women.

It does go on to say that whether to stop drinking or not is one of the decisions we all have to make on adequate information and that although the risk increase isn't great, it definitely exists.

Dbusby - When I went into hospital for my pre-op screening before surgery the standard questions for admittance to an NHS hospital did include questions on my alcohol consumption in addition to smoking, weight and general health stuff so maybe they use this information to feed into studies as well as for making sure we are fit to undergo the op?

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How do they know what causes breast cancer, if you research it says your chances are increased if you:

drink wine
overweight
had children late in life or no kids
didnt breast feed
large breasts
etc etc

how dooes research prove these facts when not everyone who has breast cancer is surveyed, I have never been asked about kids, if I drink, if I breast fed etc etc

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I asked my surgeon (who i was told happens to be the top breast surgeon in my area) what causes breast cancer and he said - quote- "We don't know".
i won't stop drinking alcohol or eating certain foods because they might cause cancer. we are all told by certain people that this or that causes cancer then next thing they tell us is that its good for us. i beleive that everything in moderation is ok. i know someone who was tee total and still got breast cancer. i want to live my life to the full and not in fear off certain foods and drinks that may or may not contribute to any type of cancer. like i said, everything in moderation and enjoy life, facing and fighting bc has taught me alot of things about myself, other people and life. so i'll raise a glass and wish the very best to all of you. x

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You know... I only ever glance at the mail (or any of the tabloids) on those rare occasions I'm down the pub and want a laugh now. We have to remind ourselves that they're tabloid rags, something in New scientist would have my attention but anything in the tabloids I wouldn't take too seriously, not worth the mental bother (brain time precious now I'm half way through chemo, no time for that kind of rubbish now 🙂

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Just seen this and I have to say - in addition to disbelieving most things the papers say about increasing your risk of bc - remember that even in the Mail, it says you are increasing your risk BY 50%, not TO 50% - big difference. And unless I see it was a serious well designed study, I don't believe it anyway - scary headlines sell papers, is all.

Lyn

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I am 36 with an oestrogen and progesterone positive cancer nd have drunk a lot of wine over the past 18 years .... I have been beating myself up about having given myself cancer by drinking wine. Though I am so stressed I cannot see myself going teetotal anytime soon.

Let's remember though that the Daily Mail regulary tells us the children of single mothers are likely to have learning difficulties and become delinquent .... likewise the children of working mothers .... so as a working single mother I should be more anxious about my 9 year old going off the rails than guilty about the large glass of white wine I had last night.

Thankyou everyone who has commented so far, I feel better already!
Irina x

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I think the Daily Mail has a particularly negative attitude to women and if there is a way to make us feel guilty or responsible for something they will take it. "Do you work? You're a bad mother. Do you not work? You're a scrounger. Are you overweight? you deserve to be ill. Are you too thin? You deserve to be ill. Do you drink? You've given yourself cancer.

I think as with everything around diet and breast cancer all any of us can do is make decisions we are comfortable with in terms of our health, our worries and our quality of life and make this as well informed as we can. But I think it's so important to enjoy life, not blame ourselves and give ourselves a break. Good grief, we've had enough to deal with!!!

xx

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My oncologist told me red wine is good for me.

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oh goodie im PR+ can i get drunk every night now?

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oh there are more RMW! Another teetotaller here, and dx 18 years ago age 45, but am not oestrogen positive.

dawnhc

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What they never bother to tell you in these articles is the type of breast cancer they are referring to. Apparently the link with alcohol is to do with oestrogen positive cancers and it's to do with alcohol making women put weight on, thus more oestrogen is produced. An oncologist relative of mines told me last year they have known about this link for a long time. However, I have always enjoyed wine, but my cancer was Her 2 +. The DM is always printing scare stories about BC (in fact it's pretty notorious for it). I wouldn't pay too much attention, just listen to your oncologists.

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I am teetotal and was diagnosed with breast cancer almost five years ago aged 42.

My mother was also teetotal and was diagnosed with breast cancer aged 59.......

I am sure there are more of us out there.

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I don't like wine but get through a bottle of Baileys over Christmas and New Year, and another around my birthday in June. Guess that's not a lot. If we cut out everything the media has ever reported as being carcinogenic would there be anything left? There's a desperate desire to find something to point the finger of blame at, but it's all so speculative... the papers jump on anything remotely newsworthy, and that doesn't always mean it's based on sound, proven evidence, researched long-term, on women as opposed to laboratory rodents, whose diets, lifestyle choices, access to 'safe' pills and potions and over-the-counter remedies for anything and everything, and exposure to environmental pollution couldn't be more different from ours.

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I think that so much of this research is unfounded or badly designed research.

I'm almost teetotal, a glass or two at weddings and Christmas, but otherwise very little

I'll be interested to hear the foundation for their research, and whether any other research supports it.

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Well, it has made me think! I've been drinking a glass or two of red wine with dinner for years, but had steadily increased my intake before I was diagnosed...(you know how it is, a little top up here and there).... so probably went quite a bit over the recommended 14 units a week. I've also noticed that a lot of ladies on here mention enjoying a tipple.

I wonder how many of us on here have bc but are teetotal?

xxx

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Hmmm, I wouldn't place much reliance on what the tabloids report as medical "fact". It was the newspapers who scaremongered so many parents against the MMR vaccine which is now costing lives when the original "facts" were based on a dodgy doctor with a vested financial interest. I think the papers will put a headline before the true and proper facts. I have a glass or two of wine most nights and don't believe that I am in any way to blame for breast cancer at 35

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Hi
I am a wine drinker too but only at weekends. I heard it on the news today too but it was mentioned about 4 weeks ago again on the news. I had just been dx then and felt like I had signed my own fate to BC just because I like a drink!
There is a link to everything we drink/eat in this world and if we took it all to heart I'm afraid life would be cr*p!
Enjoy a little bit of what you fancy and take no notice!

Anita