alcohol, breast cancer, and postmenopausal women

A place to get your questions answered from McDougall staff dietitian, Jeff Novick, MS, RDN.

Moderators: JeffN, Heather McDougall, carolve

alcohol, breast cancer, and postmenopausal women

Postby fiddler3 » Tue Apr 29, 2008 8:35 pm

Here is a link to an msnbc story on recent research results linking alcohol and breast cancer.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24107397/

My question is, what does it mean to have an "increased risk of 32 percent?"

Thanks. I am asking this here because I think the article is important, and I am looking for further resolve as I make the lifestyle change of getting rid of the beer...

fiddler3
User avatar
fiddler3
 
Posts: 500
Joined: Thu Oct 19, 2006 4:17 pm

Re: alcohol, breast cancer, and postmenopausal women

Postby JeffN » Wed Apr 30, 2008 6:51 am

fiddler3 wrote:Here is a link to an msnbc story on recent research results linking alcohol and breast cancer.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24107397/

My question is, what does it mean to have an "increased risk of 32 percent?"

Thanks. I am asking this here because I think the article is important, and I am looking for further resolve as I make the lifestyle change of getting rid of the beer...

fiddler3


Good question. We always hear these numbers being thrown around but never how they really apply to you or I as an individual.

The researchers looked at around 184,000 women and compared the risk of breast cancer in these women who were either non drinkers to women who either a) drank less than one drink daily, b) drank one to two drinks daily or c) drank three or more drinks daily over a period of 7 years.

What the researchers found was that compared to non-drinkers, women who drank but consumed less than one drink daily had a 7 percent increase, the women who had one to two drinks had a 31% percent increase and the women who had three or more daily drinks, had a 51% increase in "relative risk".

The study has not been published yet, as it was only just presented at the American Association for Cancer Research 2008 Annual Meeting on April 12-16, so I do not have the exact numbers yet.

However, in general, what that means is (to make numbers easy)...

Lets say there was 100,000 women,

If the non drinkers had 500 cases of breast cancer (from other risk factors), than the second group who drank less than 1 drink a day, had 535 cases, the group who drank one to two drinks, had 655 cases, and the third group who had three or more drinks had 755 cases.

So, per 100,000, the actual risk of getting being diagnosed with breast cancer over 7 years would be

500 for the non drinkers
535 for less than one drink a day
655 for one to two drinks a day
755 for more than three drinks a day

So, using my example (and it may not be perfect without the actual numbers) the relative risk for less than one drink a day is 7% and the absolute risk is 35 more deaths per 100,000.

Now, this gives you and idea of what it means. Without the exact numbers, I can't give you the exact results. If the article is ever published, I will.

In Health
jeff
User avatar
JeffN
 
Posts: 9021
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2008 5:56 am

Factors included and not included?

Postby Burgess » Wed Apr 30, 2008 8:11 am

Jeff, I realize this particular report hasn't been published, so you can't examine it in detail. My question then is general. When researchers conduct such an investigation, do they usually factor out influences such as diet, exercise, smoking if they are looking at the effects of drinking?

In other words, are women who are listed as nondrinkers being compared to women who drink but have the same kind of diet, get the same amount of exercise, and equally avoid smoking? I wonder if women who drink more are also less responsible in their diet, exercise, and general lifestyle.

I assume the researchers do try to control the variables this way, but what concerns me is that the "control" is statistical only and may not be reliable. A more precise study would be one which involved women of the same age, same healthy diet, and same lifestyle--except for various amounts of alcohol.
Burgess Laughlin, Star McDougaller
My books: http://www.reasonversusmysticism.com
My health weblog: http://anti-itisdiet.blogspot.com
User avatar
Burgess
 
Posts: 1463
Joined: Sat Nov 18, 2006 11:20 am
Location: Shelton, Washington

Re: Factors included and not included?

Postby JeffN » Wed Apr 30, 2008 8:21 am

Burgess wrote:do they usually factor out influences such as diet, exercise, smoking if they are looking at the effects of drinking?.


They try. But,of course, it is impossible to do it perfectly, because there are so many variables. And some studies do it better than others. The results from this study are fairly consistent with other studies, so you begin to see the same "pattern" of risk.

Burgess wrote: In other words, are women who are listed as nondrinkers being compared to women who drink but have the same kind of diet, get the same amount of exercise, and equally avoid smoking? I wonder if women who drink more are also less responsible in their diet, exercise, and general lifestyle.


Without seeing the study details, it is hard to see how they did it, but yes, this is what they try to do. They try to factor out (or in) the different risk factors. There are statistical ways of doing that.

Burgess wrote:. I assume the researchers do try to control the variables this way, but what concerns me is that the "control" is statistical only and may not be reliable. A more precise study would be one which involved women of the same age, same healthy diet, and same lifestyle--except for various amounts of alcohol.


I agree

In Health
Jeff
User avatar
JeffN
 
Posts: 9021
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2008 5:56 am

Postby fiddler3 » Wed Apr 30, 2008 1:05 pm

As far as the alcohol/ breast cancer numbers are concerned, I guess I could try to locate the base rate for the "most frequently occuring cancer." But I'll just bet there are a couple of different figures for that :)

fiddler3
User avatar
fiddler3
 
Posts: 500
Joined: Thu Oct 19, 2006 4:17 pm

Postby fiddler3 » Wed Apr 30, 2008 1:11 pm

Since I am 55, this really hits home!

© 2004 The American Society for Nutritional Sciences J. Nutr. 134:173-178, January 2004



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Nutrition and Cancer
Lifetime Alcohol Consumption and Postmenopausal Breast Cancer Rate in Denmark: a Prospective Cohort Study1
Anne Tjønneland2, Jane Christensen, Birthe L. Thomsen, Anja Olsen, Connie Stripp, Kim Overvad* and Jørgen H. Olsen

Institute of Cancer Epidemiology, Danish Cancer Society, Copenhagen, Denmark and * Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Aalborg Hospital and Department of Epidemiology and Social Medicine, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark



2 To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: annet@cancer.dk.

Alcohol intake may be one of the few modifiable risk factors for breast cancer. In a prospective cohort of 29,875 women with 423 cases of breast cancer during 1993–2000, we examined the relationship between postmenopausal breast cancer incidence rate and alcohol consumption in different life periods. When alcohol intake during four age ranges, twenties, thirties, forties and fifties was evaluated, only the intake in the fifties increased the risk of breast cancer [rate ratio (RR) = 1.12 (95% CI: 1.05–1.19)] per 10 g/d increase in alcohol intake. After adjustment for intake at study entry, this association was no longer present [RR = 1.01 (95% CI: 0.91–1.13)]. The cumulative lifetime alcohol intake, adjusted for recent intake, showed no association with postmenopausal breast cancer risk. Recent alcohol intake, adjusted for the alcohol intake in the other life time periods, showed a significant association of RR = 1.09 (95% CI: 1.00–1.18) per 10 g/d. There was no indication of a higher risk among women with early drinking start, nor did women who started to drink before their first birth have a higher risk than women who started to drink later in life. Our results suggest that baseline intake of alcohol is a more important determinant of postmenopausal breast cancer risk than earlier lifetime exposure.


dont know why that smiley showed up...

fiddler3
User avatar
fiddler3
 
Posts: 500
Joined: Thu Oct 19, 2006 4:17 pm

Postby serenity » Wed Apr 30, 2008 9:41 pm

fiddler3 wrote:Since I am 55, this really hits home!

Our results suggest that baseline intake of alcohol is a more important determinant of postmenopausal breast cancer risk than earlier lifetime exposure. [/i]

dont know why that smiley showed up...

fiddler3


I just turned 56 and I know why I'm smiling. This is very reassuring as I haven't had any alcoholic beverages in 22 years. Thanks for posting it.
User avatar
serenity
 
Posts: 1596
Joined: Fri Oct 20, 2006 9:23 pm
Location: So. Calif

Postby fiddler3 » Thu May 01, 2008 10:38 am

Just like other dietary abuses, if you stop eating or drinking the stuff now, you will see health benefits. I am awstruck by how resiliant our bodies are.

fiddler3
User avatar
fiddler3
 
Posts: 500
Joined: Thu Oct 19, 2006 4:17 pm

Postby JeffN » Thu May 08, 2008 9:03 am

More bad news. As I have said, alcohol is a known carcinogen.

This is the full report..

http://www.cancerinstitute.org.au/cance ... cancer.pdf


Alcohol increases cancer risk
May 08, 2008 11:21am

FOUR standard alcoholic drinks a day increases a man's risk of developing bowel cancer by 64 per cent, a new report says.

For women, just two standard drinks a day increased their risk of developing breast cancer by up to 22 per cent, said the report by the Cancer Institute NSW .

For both men and women, two standard drinks a day increased the risk of developing mouth cancer by 75 per cent.

NSW Assistant Health Minister Verity Firth, who will release the report today, said the alarming links to cancer had been generally ignored in debate over alcohol consumption.

"In fact, alcohol consumption is a significant risk factor for a number of cancers, including those of the breast, bowel, throat and mouth," Ms Firth said.

"(It) is one of the most well-established causes of cancer. Worryingly, a third of NSW adults actively reject the notion that drinking too much can cause cancer."

The report, Alcohol As A Cause Of Cancer, also found 12 per cent of all breast cancer cases in NSW could be directly linked to excessive consumption of alcohol.

Ms Firth said the World Health Organisation now listed alcohol as a top-rated group 1 carcinogen.

The 2006 NSW Population Health Survey found 70 per cent of NSW adults drank alcohol, with 17.6 per cent drinking at risky or high-risk levels.

"Ultimately, we cannot police every person's drinking habits," Ms Firth said.

"But we want to make sure people have the information they need to make healthy choices about alcohol use for themselves."
User avatar
JeffN
 
Posts: 9021
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2008 5:56 am

Postby fiddler3 » Thu May 08, 2008 9:45 am

Well, bad news about a bad habit, but I find it helpful to see these articles. I have wondered for a long time why there wasn't more information available about the effects of alcohol on health. I guess it is becoming available now.

fiddler3
User avatar
fiddler3
 
Posts: 500
Joined: Thu Oct 19, 2006 4:17 pm

Postby DianeR » Thu May 08, 2008 11:35 am

Have there been any studies on the effects of alcohol for those on vegan diets (much less low fat vegan)? If fat and animal protein have the impact on promoting cancer I've read about, is moderate alcohol really a risk if these other items aren't being consumed? I remember from Dr. Campbell's experiments how casein would turn cancer on and off. Even with a powerful carcinigen, there was no cancer when the animals weren't given the animal protein.

Also, how does one compare the studies showing the cancer increases with alcohol, but heart disease decreases? I have a very strong family history of heart disease, and no family history of cancer at all.

Yes, I like a glass or two of wine every so often :lol: And I buy a gluten-free beer when I go to the ballpark, since I think they stock it because I nagged at them :)
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts. --
Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan
User avatar
DianeR
 
Posts: 1274
Joined: Fri Oct 20, 2006 5:29 am

Are you a wine lover?

Postby derik » Fri May 09, 2008 11:26 pm

Hi friends, I thought I should share this information with you... do you know Two glasses of wine a day risks mouth cancer.

Two glasses of wine a day can increase the risk of mouth cancer by up to 75 per cent, scientists warned.

The research also showed two units of alcohol daily raises the risk of breast cancer by 22 per cent.

It also found that men who drink four units of alcohol a day increase their risk of bowel cancer by 64 per cent.

Other research had previously showed that moderate amounts of red wine could have health benefits and may help to prevent heart disease and strokes.

But the Australian report by the Cancer Institute in New South Wales, found there is no safe level of alcohol and said drinking should be kept to an absolute minimum.

The institute’s chief executive, Professor Jim Bishop, said: “Alcohol is a well established carcinogen and is known to increase the risk of several cancers.”

Researchers also found two small glasses a of wine a day raised the risk of cancer of the oesophagus by 50 per cent and cancer of the larynx by 40 per cent.

Drinking eight units a day raised the risk of mouth or throat cancer by four to six times compared to a non-drinker.

Professor Bishop said: “We don’t want a general scare, but the fact is that alcohol consumption on a regular basis, even at moderate levels, can increase the risk.

“Clearly for cardiac disease it may be that red wine is helpful, but for cancer we cannot see any benefit at all from alcohol.”

Thank you
derik
_________
Cancer Center
http://cancer-care-center.blogspot.com/
Cancer center provide accurate, up-to-date, comprehensive information on cancer treatment, cancer research and various types of cancer. We believe that information about cancer should be freely available to all, so we can win the fight against cancer
derik
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri May 02, 2008 12:58 am

Re: alcohol, breast cancer, and postmenopausal women

Postby Nettie » Sat May 10, 2008 4:38 am

JeffN wrote:
fiddler3 wrote:....
My question is, what does it mean to have an "increased risk of 32 percent?"

Thanks. I am asking this here because I think the article is important, and I am looking for further resolve as I make the lifestyle change of getting rid of the beer...

fiddler3


Good question. We always hear these numbers being thrown around but never how they really apply to you or I as an individual. jeff


Jeff, thanks so much for your wisdom regarding studies and what the numbers really mean.

In the same magazine that carried Dr. McDougall's interview, I noticed an article which states that dark chocolate is good for you because a study in Finland found that it raises HDL by 10% and "significantly diminishes the liklihood of heart attacks." When I went to Pubmed, as you suggest, to look up the study, I found that the study lasted only 2 weeks!

As Dr. McD says, people love to hear good news about their bad habits.

Nettie
User avatar
Nettie
 
Posts: 1169
Joined: Tue Nov 07, 2006 3:55 pm
Location: South Carolina

Re: alcohol, breast cancer, and postmenopausal women

Postby JeffN » Sat May 10, 2008 5:52 am

Nettie wrote: I noticed an article which states that dark chocolate is good for you because a study in Finland found that it raises HDL by 10% and "significantly diminishes the liklihood of heart attacks." When I went to Pubmed, as you suggest, to look up the study, I found that the study lasted only 2 weeks!

As Dr. McD says, people love to hear good news about their bad habits.

Nettie


Hi Nettie

You can read my thoughts on the chocolate studies here.

http://www.drmcdougall.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=6010


In Health
Jeff
User avatar
JeffN
 
Posts: 9021
Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2008 5:56 am

Postby Lacey » Sat May 10, 2008 5:53 pm

I stopped drinking any alcohol in 2002. My mother, her twin sister, and two of my sisters have had breast cancer (one died) and there are other cancers on both sides of my family. The information on cancer and alcohol is not new but it is good to see so much more about it in the main stream news. I didn't drink much anyway and the decision to stop completely was easy once I started reading about it raising cancer risk. How can I enjoy a glass of wine while wondering in the back of my mind what it might be doing to my cancer risk. So guess who became upset about me not drinking? My doctor. She thought that was too radical. She told me there were possible benefits to my heart from drinking wine. She knows my family history and also knows that I don't have a single risk factor for heart disease as far as we know. The same visit in which she was upset that I was no longer drinking she suggested that I consider genetic testing and possibly a prophylactic double mastectomy, ovary removal and taking raloxifene for five years. Somehow THAT is not radical but not consuming alcohol is? That ended up being my last visit with her. Didn't mean to rant but it still upsets me years later.
Lacey
 
Posts: 814
Joined: Thu Oct 19, 2006 5:15 pm

Next

Return to Jeff Novick, RD

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests



Welcome!

Sign up to receive our regular articles, recipes, and news about upcoming events.