View Full Version : Alcohol intake

10-18-2011, 01:23 PM
I've heard mixed reviews on alcohol intake and the risk of recurrence, and just thought that I would ask here for some input and thoughts on the subject!

I consume about a fifth of vodka per week and was told by my oncologist that isn't enough to make a difference one way or another.


10-18-2011, 04:16 PM
I have about 1 glass of wine a week, was told the same.

10-19-2011, 04:19 AM
I was told that there have really been no conclusive findings that diet has been linked to bc. Alcohol intake plays a role in everyones life but has not been totally linked to cancer. It only makes sense to drink moderately with our without cancer. Pretty much how it was summed up for me. I drink a glass of wine now and then and on a rare occassion a beer even while in treatment. Was told red wine is the healthiest for us. Good question.

10-19-2011, 09:27 AM
So glad you posted this - I wonder the same thing since I love my cocktails once in awhile. I stopped drinking when I got diagnosed and now that I am done with chemo and on Herceptin alone I have started having wine or a martini here and there. I just met with a nutritionist and here is what was in the pamphlet she gave me:

The risk of breast cancer increases with just a few drinks per week. Women at high risk may consider not consuming alcohol at all.

I have drastically changed my life for this breast cancer but it is not robbing me of things I enjoy in life. Glass of wine please! :)

10-19-2011, 11:12 AM
Great question! I also stopped drinking during treatment, but started again while just doing herceptin. I actually went to a wine tasting the night before one of my herceptin treatments (I totally forgot) and freaked out. My oncologist laughed at me and said I was fine.

I have a few glasses of red wine throughout the week, or a beer here and there, and my oco is fine with it. and I think it's a great stress reliever ;)

10-19-2011, 12:08 PM
I can't find it, but a recent study suggested noticeable cellular changes in relevant cells with what was thought to be a small amount of alcohol.
Here's a recent study suggesting concern is more warranted in higher consumption:

Tumori. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21617706#) 2011 Mar-Apr;97(2):142-8. doi: 10.1700/667.7774.
Do pre-diagnostic drinking habits influence breast cancer survival?

Allemani C (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=%22Allemani%20C%22%5BAuthor%5D), Berrino F (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=%22Berrino%20F%22%5BAuthor%5D), Krogh V (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=%22Krogh%20V%22%5BAuthor%5D), Sieri S (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=%22Sieri%20S%22%5BAuthor%5D), Pupa SM (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=%22Pupa%20SM%22%5BAuthor%5D), Tagliabue E (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=%22Tagliabue%20E%22%5BAuthor%5D), Tagliabue G (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=%22Tagliabue%20G%22%5BAuthor%5D), Sant M (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=%22Sant%20M%22%5BAuthor%5D).

Department of Preventive and Predictive Medicine, Analytical Epidemiology Unit, Italy. claudia.allemani@istitutotumori.mi.it



Alcohol consumption increases the risk of developing breast cancer and may also be associated with late diagnosis, recurrence, distant metastases and death. Many studies have examined the role of alcohol as a risk factor for the development of breast cancer, but very few studies have addressed the role of alcohol as a prognostic factor for survival among women diagnosed with breast cancer. The aim of this study was to investigate the survival of women with breast cancer in relation to pre-diagnostic alcohol intake and other factors known to influence prognosis.

We analyzed data for 264 women in the EUROCARE and ORDET studies who were diagnosed with breast cancer from 1987 up to 31 December 2001 and for whom information was available on follow-up, stage at diagnosis, HER-2 and hormone receptor status, and pre-diagnostic dietary alcohol intake, categorized as zero (0 g/day, non-drinkers), moderate (up to 13 g/day, about 1 serving) and high (>13 g/day). Ten-year relative survival was estimated using the maximum-likelihood approach. The excess risk of death within 10 years of diagnosis was modeled by level of alcohol intake, adjusting separately for age, stage, body mass index and tumor subtype.

Ten-year relative survival was lower in women who drank more than 13 g/day (65%; 95% CI, 47-78) than in non-drinkers (88%; 95% CI, 75-95). The excess risk of death within 10 years was significantly higher in women who drank more than 13 g/day than non-drinkers (relative excess risk, 4.13; 95% CI, 1.69-10.10) and was not altered by adjustment for other prognostic factors. The excess risk within 10 years was higher for women with a body mass index of 25 kg/m2 or higher (relative excess risk, 2.20; 95% CI, 1.01-4.70) and higher for those with more advanced disease.

Women who drank more than 13 g alcohol per day had lower survival than non-drinkers. The excess risk of death within 10 years of diagnosis was unaffected by other known risk factors. High alcohol consumption may be an adverse prognostic factor for breast cancer.

PMID:21617706 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

10-20-2011, 05:56 AM
That sounds pretty dire! Good enough for me! Thanks, Rich!

PS-I can still have dark chocolate though...right?...it's not like I'm addicted....I just need my chocolate...I'm ER-....it's better for everyone if I have chocolate...really... :)

10-20-2011, 01:10 PM
I don't necessarily drink during the week because I find I am too tired after a hard day at work (I am very,very busy with my job) that I can't do anything else. I do sometimes have a glass of wine on a Monday - Thursday. But Friday, Saturday and Sunday I do have a couple of drinks - it depends but probably 2-4 drinks each of those nights. Usually wine but sometimes a cocktail and then wine. I am not a big beer drinker but love it in the summer after a hot day in the garden. Is it not good? I say we have all been through enough - too much, to not enjoy our lives to the fullest. Also, some alcohol studies do not rule out other factors that may be synergistic with alcohol drinking such as - do you smoke too? Do you just sit around or are you depressed. There is so much more going on than just those drinks. Eat well and live well I say. So, I suppose if a bottle of wine is about 6 drinks depending on how you pour:), then I drink about 2 bottles a week. That's why I'm smiling in my picture!

10-20-2011, 06:08 PM
I occasionally have a glass of red wine. With my chocolate-:)

all the best

10-21-2011, 04:59 AM
I recommend very minimal alcohol for my patients with a history of breast cancer. Typically, it was suggested that 1 drink per day was ok for women at risk/history of breast cancer but then a study came out about 2 years ago suggesting that even that increased the risk of breast cancer. (I can't find that study right now-sorry) However, there have been studies since then that have not found the same correlation (see one example in 2nd link provided below). We know without a doubt that heavy alcohol intake increases the risk of most solid tumor cancers. In the case of breast cancer and alcohol consumption I would suggest that less is best!



10-21-2011, 03:13 PM
Oh rats! I was hoping a few glasses of red wine on the weekend would be okay. Mind you I spent this past weekend away with my two sisters and had a few more than that. Oh well I guess I will try to save it for special times. Did I read something in Susan Love's book that if you are going to have a drink have greens at the same time, do you think that if I munch
on spinach or brocolli along with the wine it might be helpful. Yum yum All kidding aside thanks for info Tanya you are a great help here Lois.

10-21-2011, 06:26 PM
Hmmm. Broccoli and red wine...not sure that is a great combination! Maybe red wine and a little dark chocolate would be better =) Kidding and uncertain science aside, I also believe quality of life is important. If you enjoy a glass of wine or a drink once a week (sometimes a little more, sometimes less) it seems unlikely to increase risk significantly.

10-26-2011, 12:04 PM
I think this was the lab study that showed certain cancer mechanisms may be altered by alcohol intake:

In other studies, some alcohol seems to be healthy.


10-27-2011, 05:46 PM
I used to drink red wine just about every day. I quit when I was diagnosed. Now I have one (5 oz) glass of red wine once in awhile. It does enhance the enjoyment of food.

I'm with Denise--I can do without the alcohol, but don't take away my dark chocolate!

10-28-2011, 08:25 AM
They say great minds think alike...
Perhaps that's true for great palates as well!

11-03-2011, 07:13 AM
Interesting addition to our previous discussion...

Raising the Chance of Some Cancers With Two Drinks a Day http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204528204577009741133297800.html

11-17-2011, 09:15 PM
Here's a new potential twist (mouse study):

The researchers aren't sure how alcohol, which is carcinogenic (http://www.myhealthnewsdaily.com/alcohol-breast-cancer-risk-2074/), may act to suppress breast cancer's spread. The study showed alcohol did not affect the growth of tumors in the breast. So it may have affected the spread of the tumor (http://www.myhealthnewsdaily.com/blood-test-detect-melanoma-spread-1396/)in a different way, such as allowing the immune system to better attack the cancer at other sites in the body.

11-18-2011, 06:01 PM
Well, well, well....thanks, Rich, you've blessed me with this one!