Breast cancer recurrence increases with alcohol use

Filed under: Health Care |

Even moderate consumption of alcohol can increase the risk of the recurrence of breast cancer.

Researchers from Kaiser Permanente followed 1,897 survivors of early-stage invasive breast cancer, comparing those who drank with those who did not. The risk of recurrence was greater among postmenopausal, overweight and obese women — regardless of what kind of alcohol they drank.

“Women previously diagnosed with breast cancer should consider limiting their consumption of alcohol to less than three drinks a week,” said Marilyn Kwan, staff scientist and author of the study.

While previous research has shown that alcohol consumption is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer, there have been limited studies about its role in patient prognosis and survival among those already diagnosed.

Researchers used a questionnaire to document information about wine, beer and alcohol consumption. Each year, participants also completed information on health outcomes — including recurrence of breast cancer.

After following patients for eight years, Kwan found 349 cases in which breast cancer reoccurred and 332 deaths from cancer and other causes.

Kwan said more research was needed because there had not been enough studies examining the influence of alcohol on breast cancer prognosis, and the increased risk, about 30 percent, was observed in only some subgroups.

New flu clinic opens

The El Paso County Department of Health and Environment is making use of empty space at The Citadel mall for H1N1 flu clinics.

The site is in a storefront on the second floor, by J.C. Penney. Hours of operation are 2 to 5 p.m. Mondays and Fridays, and 9 a.m. to noon Wednesdays and Saturdays.

The clinic will be closed Christmas day.

Nurses will provide the flu vaccination at no cost. While it is harmless for most people, some should not get the vaccination: people who are allergic to eggs, who have Guillain-Barre syndrome, children younger than 6 months old and people who are already ill.

Children ages 9 and under can use this location to get a booster shot. They must wait 21 days in between the first vaccination and the booster.

The health department also is partnering with Peak Vista Community Health Centers and its Ronald McDonald Care Mobile facility to provide vaccinations at 8 a.m. Dec. 21 at 8303 Del Rio Road in Peyton.

Health care reform lobbying

Colorado Consumer Health Initiative is working with members of Congress to increase access and affordability in health care.

DeDe dePercin said the group is campaigning for changes to the Senate bill that will make health care more affordable — especially for those below 250 percent of the federal poverty level.

“We hope to be able to strengthen the bill during Conference Committee,” she said.

Conference Committee is the process of reconciling the differences between bills passed in the Senate and the House of Representatives.

DePercin said the group was successful in improving the standards during Senate Finance negotiations and during the merger of two committee bills.

“Now is the time for us to prepare for the final push on affordability,” she said. “We need to clearly articulate to President Obama and to Congress that there is broad based support for strong affordability provisions.”

The Colorado group is one of several working nationally to raise awareness and to gain support to increase subsidies for people in the lower income brackets.

Amy Gillentine covers health care for the Colorado Springs Business Journal.

One Response to Breast cancer recurrence increases with alcohol use

  1. Consuming alcohol will increase the risk of getting all types of cancer including the breast cancer in my opinion. I do not encourage others to consume alcohol. I just wonder why some people love to drink it. Anyway, thanks for sharing!

    Kok Siong Chen
    December 19, 2009 at 5:08 am