Alcohol consumption is said to increase the risk of breast cancer. However, no study was undertaken to establish the existence of a link between breast cancer and alcohol consumption in the context of African-American women.
A new study now indicates that alcohol is responsible for the increased risk of breast cancer in African-American women and like white women, limitation of alcohol consumption may benefit their health.
“Although alcohol is an established risk factor for breast cancer, most studies have been conducted in predominantly white populations,” the study’s lead author Melissa A. Troester asserted .
The researchers wanted to ascertain if previous studies on the subject also held true for African-American women.
Alcohol Consumption Increases Risk Of Breast Cancer?
To establish the link between alcohol consumption in African-American women and the aggravated risk of breast cancer, Troester and her team enrolled 22,338 women for the study.
All the participants were selected from the African-American Breast Cancer Epidemiology and Risk or AMBER Consortium. This incorporates four huge epidemiologic studies related to breast cancer. The participants of study shared their alcohol consumption details through a questionnaire.
The researchers then resorted to “logistic regression” to determine the association between breast cancer cases and the number of alcoholic drinks a woman consumes per week.
The results showed that women who drank seven drinks or more every week were at a heightened risk of almost all breast cancer subtypes. Women consuming 14 alcoholic drinks or more per week were 33 percent more likely to develop cancer strains vis-à-vis women consuming four drinks or more every week.
The authors of the study stated that “black women” drank lesser than white women. This could be because of many reasons ranging from health restrictions to religious beliefs. The study found that 45 percent women never drank alcohol and they were the ones most likely to develop breast cancer compared to “light drinkers.”
Troester asserted that the results of the study were similar to the ones conducted in the past to establish the link between alcohol and risk of breast cancer in white women; and the same can be applied for African-American women as well.
“Alcohol is an important modifiable exposure, whereas many other risk factors are not,” Troester remarked.
The lead author added that further research would be necessary to ascertain which risk factors for breast cancer, such as oral contraceptive use, weight, reproductive history, family history, and more are relevant for each race.
Limitations Of The Study
According to Troester, the only limitation was that the study involved comparatively few women who had heavy drinking habits, which will statistically make the finding slightly insignificant.
Nevertheless, she opined that the results of the study — despite the limitation — matches the results of previous studies, which have in the past established the link between alcohol consumption and increased breast cancer risk.
The findings of the study have been published in journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, & Prevention.