September 1, 2010 — Studies examining the relation between alcohol consumption and breast cancer have been decidedly mixed. But a paper published online August 30 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology reports that alcohol consumption appears to increase the risk for breast cancer recurrence.
"Clinicians should advise their breast cancer patients to possibly limit their consumption of alcohol," lead author Marilyn Kwan, PhD, a research scientist at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, California, told Medscape Medical News. However, the data also suggest possible cardioprotective benefits associated with alcohol consumption, and Dr. Kwan acknowledged that the evidence can be difficult for patients to interpret.
"The most important advice I can give breast cancer patients is to talk with their clinician about any lifestyle changes they are considering after being diagnosed with breast cancer," Dr. Kwan said. "She can then fully evaluate the risks and benefits of consuming alcohol, and at what amount."