Even one small glass of wine a day upped breast cancer risk in women: study

Drinking even one small glass of wine a day increased a woman's risk of breast cancer, a major report has concluded. According to commentators, it meant even following safe drinking guidelines of 14 units a week could be enough to endanger health.

A review of 119 studies, which involved 12 million women, found a daily glass of wine increased the risk of pre-menopausal breast cancer by 5 per cent and post-menopausal breast cancer by 9 per cent.

According to the authors from the World Cancer Research Fund, 12,000 cases of breast cancer could be prevented in the UK each year if nobody drank alcohol.
The researchers based their calculations on consumption of 10g of alcohol a day, the amount in 100 ml of 12 per cent strength wine – less than a standard 125 ml small glass.

This was equivalent to 8.75 units a week, which was well within the 14 a week limit advised by the government.

According to the report, also by the American Institute for Cancer Research, a healthy diet, exercise and watching one's weight could cut the risk of breast cancer.

According to the authors, those who exercised vigorously, such as runners, ran a 17 per cent lower risk of pre-menopausal breast cancer as against those who were least active.

Breast cancer was amongst the most common cancer in women in the UK with one in eight women developing the disease during their lifetime.

But scientists have no explanation as to why cancer occurred in some people and not in others.

There are numerous causes and lots of factors to be considered, including lifestyle, hormone levels and other medical conditions.

Being a woman, over 50 and past the menopause, having a history of breast cancer in one's family, all added to the risk of getting the disease.

Being tall and starting periods before the age of 12 are thought to increase the risk too.