Even Small Amounts of Alcohol Can Affect Breast Cancer Risk

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Drinking the equivalent of a small glass of wine each day increases the odds of postmenopausal breast cancer by 9 percent.
Drinking the equivalent of a small glass of wine each day increases the odds of postmenopausal breast cancer by 9 percent.

(HealthDay News) -- Exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, and limiting alcohol could all reduce breast cancer risk, according to findings released by the American Institute for Cancer Research and the World Cancer Research Fund.

The report is based on a review of 119 studies. On balance, the researchers found, regular exercise was tied to small reductions in the risk of breast cancer. The risk was elevated among women who drank regularly -- even at a moderate level. Women who were overweight throughout adulthood faced a heightened risk of breast cancer after menopause.

Overall, women with the highest amounts of daily activity were 13 percent less likely to develop postmenopausal breast cancer, versus women with the lowest activity levels. For premenopausal breast cancer, only vigorous exercise was tied to a lower risk. The women who were most active had a 17 percent reduced risk of premenopausal breast cancer versus those who were least active. For postmenopausal women who were the most active when it came to vigorous exercise, the risk of breast cancer dropped by 10 percent compared to the least active.

In addition, drinking the equivalent of a small glass of wine each day increased the odds of premenopausal and postmenopausal breast cancer by 5 and 9 percent, respectively. The review found limited evidence that other specific diet habits are related to breast cancer risk.

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