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Breast cancer risk may increase by low levels of alcohol consumption

A new study conducted by researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston found that low levels of alcohol consumption can heighten the risk of breast cancer in women.

The researchers studied more than 105,000 women and discovered that those who drank a small amount of alcohol had a 15 percent increased risk of developing the disease. Plus, those who drank at least two drinks daily had a 51 percent increased risk of having breast cancer than those who never drink alcohol.

"Our results highlight the importance of considering lifetime exposure when evaluating the effect of alcohol, and probably other dietary factors, on the carcinogenesis process," said the researchers. "However, an individual will need to weigh the modest risk of light to moderate alcohol use on breast cancer development against the beneficial effects on cardiovascular disease to make the best personal choice regarding alcohol consumption."

According to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, it is recommended that once a woman turns 40 she schedules an annual mammogram. Those who have an extensive family history of the disease, which can be a risk factor, may want to make these appointments earlier to ensure that if they do get the disease, it is caught during the beginning stages. 
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