Whenever we think of the harmful effects of alcohol, liver cirrhosis is usually the first thing that comes to mind for many people; however, recent studies show that there are many adverse effects of alcohol abuse, including breast cancer.
The drinking patterns of women have changed over the last couple of years. Today, women are known to binge drink at higher concentrations and to begin drinking earlier in life, which can contribute to an increased risk of breast cancer. Many women are unaware that approximately 4-10% of breast cancers in the United States are attributable to alcohol consumption, which accounts for 9,000-23,000 new invasive breast cancer cases each year (Liu, Nguyen, & Colditz, 2015).
Women that consume about one drink per day have a 5–9 percent higher chance of developing breast cancer than women who do not drink at all, which translates to an increased risk of breast cancer for every additional drink that women have per day.
Due to the composition of the female body, often it takes women longer to remove all of the alcohol from their bodies, which can lead to damage of major organs such as the brain, liver, and heart and adverse health outcomes, such as breast cancer. In consideration, everyone, women especially, should be more cautious when drinking.
Many alcohol companies have found ways to target women when advertising alcohol. Things such as “skinny margaritas,” “chick beer,” and “girls night out wine” are all catered to women; however, the harmful effects remain unknown as they aren’t advertised along with it.
Just imagine if skinny girl margarita had “increases chances of developing breast cancer” advertised, as opposed to “the margarita you can trust.” It leads me to ask myself, can we REALLY TRUST YOU, skinny girl margarita? *side eye*
To educate the community so that we can disseminate the message of the adverse health outcomes of consuming alcohol, health advocates should develop campaigns that raise awareness of the connection between drinking alcohol and breast cancer among women. Back in the day, I remembered seeing commercials that raised awareness of the harmful effects that smoking cigarettes or smoking marijuana would cause you. After all those years, I still remember the commercials very vividly.
Health advocates could use the same creative approach to enlighten women on the harmful health effects that alcohol consumption can cause.
After all, it doesn’t hurt to try.
Liu, Ying, et al. “Links between Alcohol Consumption and Breast Cancer: A Look at the Evidence.” 2015. Womens Health, vol. 11, no. 1, 65–77.