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Drinking just a glass of wine or any other alcoholic beverage everyday may increase the risk of breast cancer, warns new research that analyzed data from about 12 million women.

The report also found, for the first time, that vigorous exercise such as running or fast bicycling decreases the risk of breast cancer.

“With this comprehensive and up-to-date report the evidence is clear: Having a physically active lifestyle, maintaining a healthy weight throughout life and limiting alcohol, these are all steps women can take to lower their risk,” said Anne McTiernan, from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre in the US.

The report, by the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) and the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF), analyzed about 119 studies, including data on 12 million women and 260,000 cases of breast cancer.

It found strong evidence that drinking the equivalent of a small glass of wine or beer a day (about 10 grammes alcohol content) increases pre-menopausal breast cancer risk by five per cent and post-menopausal breast cancer risk by nine per cent.

They found that for vigorous exercise, pre-menopausal women who were the most active had a 17 per cent lower risk and post-menopausal women had a 10 per cent lower risk of developing breast cancer compared to those who were the least active.

Total moderate activity, such as walking and gardening, linked to a 13 per cent lower risk when comparing the most versus least active women, researchers said.

The report also found that being overweight or obese increases the risk of post-menopausal breast cancer, the most common type of breast cancer.

Mothers who breastfeed are at lower risk for breast cancer and greater adult weight gain increases risk of post-menopausal breast cancer, researchers said.

“While there are many factors that women cannot control, the good news from this report is that all women can take steps to lower their breast cancer risk,” said Alice Bender, from American Institute for Cancer Research.

“Wherever you are with physical activity, try to nudge it up a bit, either a little longer or a little harder,” Bender said.

“Make simple food shifts to boost protection – substitute veggies like carrots, bell peppers or green salad for chips and crackers and if you drink alcohol, stick to a single drink or less,” she added.


Source: The Tribune

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