viernes, 9 de diciembre de 2011

NLM Director's Comments Transcript - Alcohol & Breast Cancer Risk: MedlinePlus

NLM Director's Comments Transcript
Alcohol & Breast Cancer Risk: 12/07/2011

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Picture of Dr. LindbergGreetings from the National Library of Medicine and
Regards to all our listeners!
I'm Rob Logan, Ph.D. senior staff National Library of Medicine for Donald Lindberg, M.D, the Director of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
Here is what's new this week in MedlinePlus.listen
The study of about 106,000 U.S. nurses found women who self-reported drinking the equivalent of three to six glasses of wine each week were 15 percent more likely to develop breast cancer than women who never or rarely drank alcohol. The differences between the groups were moderate but statistically significant.

Moreover, the study found the participants who reported they drank the equivalent of two glasses of wine a day over time were 51 percent more likely to develop breast cancer than women who never or rarely drank. Hence, the study suggests higher drinking levels significantly increases the risk of developing breast cancer.

The study also found an increased risk of breast cancer was more linked to cumulative drinking over time rather than what type of alcohol participants drank, or the age when a woman begins to consume wine, spirits, or beer.

While the study's five authors note previous research linked alcohol consumption to breast cancer, the current study specifies some of the associations between alcohol consumption and breast cancer and its findings are based on an unprecedented three decades of data gathering.

An editorial accompanying the study explains the findings are the first to suggest the risk of breast cancer may begin at a moderate level of alcohol consumption (the equivalent of about three glasses of wine a week).
Nevertheless, the study's authors noted the current research does not yield insights if giving up drinking lowers a women's risk of breast cancer.

Steven Narod M.D., the research chair in breast cancer at Women's College Research Institute in Toronto (who wrote the editorial that accompanied the study), adds its findings suggest no association between very light alcohol consumption (a couple of drinks a week) and increased breast cancer risk.

Narod further contextualizes the study's findings by juxtaposing it with recent research that ties moderate to light alcohol consumption with cardiovascular benefits. Narod writes (and we quote): 'Women who abstain from all alcohol may find that a potential benefit of lower breast cancer risk is more than offset by the relinquished benefit of reduced cardiovascular mortality associated with an occasional glass of red wine' (end of quote).

The study's findings are derived from the U.S. Nurses Health study that provides comprehensive longitudinal information about women's health issues. Participants were between age 30 and 55 and healthy at the time they enrolled in the study. About 7,700 study participants were diagnosed with breast cancer from 1980 through 2008. The authors controlled for other causes of breast cancer, such as weight and smoking, in their data analysis.

The authors noted participants in the U.S. Nurses Health study self-reported drinking habits at seven periodic intervals from 1988-2006. The authors acknowledge the study's findings are observational, or do not compare the participants with a control group.

Meanwhile within, the American Cancer Society provides a good introduction to the broader relationship between cancer and alcohol. The link to this website is found within the 'related issues' section of's alcohol health topic page.'s alcohol health topic page also covers a variety of other health risks associated with alcohol consumption, such as high blood pressure, interactions with medicines, and poisoning. These and other issues are found in the 'related issues' section of's alcohol health topic page.

Both's alcohol and breast cancer health topic pages contain research summaries, which are available in the 'research' section. Links to the latest pertinent journal research articles about alcohol and breast cancer are available in the 'journal articles' section within each health topic page.

To find's breast cancer health topic page, type 'breast cancer' in the search box on's home page, then, click on 'breast cancer (National Library of Medicine).' To find's alcohol health topic page, type 'alcohol' in the search box on's home page, then, click on 'alcohol (National Library of Medicine).'

Overall, the findings in the current JAMA study suggest a need for more research about alcohol and cancer as well as the broader impact of alcohol consumption on women's health. While the JAMA study provides new insights about the impact of cumulative levels of drinking over time on breast cancer, the comparative health risks and benefits of alcohol consumption for women or men have yet to be determined.

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A disclaimer –the information presented in this program should not replace the medical advice of your physician. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any disease without first consulting with your physician or other health care provider.

It was nice to be with you. I look forward to meeting you here next week.
NLM Director's Comments Transcript - Alcohol & Breast Cancer Risk: MedlinePlus
Low levels of alcohol consumption (or about three drinks a week) were associated with a significantly increased risk of breast cancer – in findings derived from a larger study of nurses recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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