Alcohol & Breast Cancer, What’s The Deal?



Along with a slew of other negative side effects, drinking alcohol has been linked to a higher risk for developing breast cancer. In fact, women who have 3 alcoholic drinks per week have a 15% higher risk of breast cancer. This risk goes up 10% for every additional drink a woman has per day. According to the American Cancer Society, drinking even small amounts of alcohol is linked with an increased risk of breast cancer in women. Alcohol can raise estrogen levels in the body, which may explain some of the increased risk. Avoiding or cutting back on alcohol may be an important way for many women to lower their risk of breast cancer.


Although the exact link between alcohol and increased risk for cancer isn’t completely understood, there are some theories as to why this could be the case:

  • Alcohol can cause tissue damage, “Once in the body, alcohol can be converted into acetaldehyde, a chemical that can damage the DNA inside cells and has been shown to cause cancer in lab animals.”

  • Alcohol consumption may make it easier for harmful chemicals to enter your body, causing tissue damage. It can also slow the body’s natural ability to remove harmful chemicals from your body.

  • Too much alcohol consumption could lead to an excess calorie intake, leading to an unhealthy weight gain. Obesity increases your risk for breast cancer.

Those are just a few of the known detrimental health effects alcohol has on the body. These risks can easily be avoided by removing alcoholic beverages from your diet.

Learn more about breast cancer risk factors on our free Know Your Lemons app!