What Everybody Needs To Know About The Effect of Alcohol On Women

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The effect of alcohol on women is often discussed. But a little known nightmare is that drinking alcohol and breast cancer are linked.

too much alcohol what to do


Sobering Advice

Women's health and alcoholism are two topics that many women think about. But many of us don't follow the thread to see how scarily linked alcohol and the risk of breast cancer are. VProud intern Caitlin Kells reflects on the sobering advice Marisa C. Weiss, M.D., the Director of Breast Radiation Oncology at Lankenau Medical Center gives about purposefully limiting alcohol intake. Alcohol consumption causes many problems that seem controllable, including lowered inhibitions and poor decision making. But once breast cancer is in our lives, it's a beast that we can't fully control. Read Caitlin's thoughts on whether understanding this risk will effect her very personal decision to limit alcohol intake or not.

—The VProud Team


i don't want to get breast cancer

When The Bottles Begin To Add Up

There's no harm in sitting down at the end of the day and pouring a glass of wine ... or two. Or is there? I mean, come on, who doesn’t enjoy unwinding with a fine pinot after a long day’s work? Well we are here to tell you that over the years, all those bottles begin to add up and might eventually affect your breast health.

Studies show that alcohol consumption can increase your risk of breast cancer. "How?” you might ask. There are several different ways alcohol influences women’s health and all of them can be avoided by drinking less or even not at all. This is not to say that if you have one drink every once in a blue moon that you’re definitely going to get breast cancer. It's merely important to monitor your alcohol consumption for the general benefits that come with being health aware. 

There Are No Easy Fixes

Drinking alcohol and breast cancer do not go hand in hand. There are hordes of women who enjoy drinking every day who never get breast cancer. Additionally, there are also many women who unfortunately get breast cancer and have been teetotaler their whole lives. It's important to keep in mind that there is no easy fix to decreasing your chances of breast cancer, in fact it's a complicated web of things that need to be watched carefully and kept healthy in order to keep you strong. Being aware of what you put into your body--from food to alcohol to drugs--is crucial, and we all know one of the best ways to stay on top of the breast cancer watch is getting annual mammograms. It may seem intimidating and overwhelming, there are so many things to be considered.

Get The Facts Before You React

The Susan G. Komen organization reports that women who regularly have 2-3 drinks per day increase their risk of breast cancer by 20 percent. This is what we women have to ask ourselves: what's more important? Enjoying the fine tastes of life, or taking every precaution possible to lower our chances of breast cancer? As Dr. Marisa Weiss, President and Founder of Breastcancer.org, explains, there are great tricks out there that keep your alcohol consumption down. For example, when in a social setting switching drinks between alcoholic and nonalcoholic is a great way to quench your thirst and keep the alcohol content low.

Keeping your drinking under control can benefit you in more ways than one. Limited consumption can improve your memory, concentration, and lower your weight and cholesterol levels. 

My takeaways are this: Don’t go around thinking you’re an alcoholic because you like to sip merlot with your friends. However, keeping a close eye on your drinking promotes women’s health. Everything in moderation is a very good rule of thumb to live by. So don’t fret, Wine Wednesdays can still exist, just keep it in control.


About the author: Caitlin Kells is a VProud intern.


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High consumption of alcohol leads to a higher risk of breast cancer. Do you limit the drinks to lower your health risks?

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