Just two drinks a day significantly increases the risk of breast cancer for black women, a report has confirmed – finally filling a gap in research.
Alcohol consumption and breast cancer has long been linked in studies, but the research mostly centered on white women.
But now experts have conclusively shown a similar risk among black women.
A recent study claims that just 14 drinks a week will increase the risk of developing the disease by 33 percent.
Previous studies claimed the risk was 20 percent higher, but these reports were based on Caucasian women.
The study was conducted by University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and was published in May.
Researchers found that even one drink a day elevated the risk for all types of breast malignancies in black women.
The risk was compared to light drinkers who had less than four alcoholic beverages a week.
Previous studies reported the risk for women who had two to three alcoholic drinks daily was 20 percent, according to Susan G Komen.
The lifetime risk for all women developing breast cancer is 12 percent.
When broken down by race and ethnicity, white women have a 13 percent risk and black women have an 11 percent risk.
Senior study author Melissa Troester said: ‘Many breast cancer risk factors like family history cannot be changed, however, alcohol drinking can be moderated if a woman wants to decrease her risk.
Troester, a researcher at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill added: ‘Most studies show that risk is only significantly increased if women drink more than one drink per day.’
The expert said it’s possible alcohol may interfere with hormone levels in a way that encourages tumor growth, and it also might cause genetic damage that makes cancer more likely.
Troester said it was rather the alcohol content rather than the specific drink that caused the increased risk.
For the current study, researchers examined data on drinking habits for 22,338 African-American women, including 5,018 who were diagnosed with invasive breast cancer.
Overall, 45 percent of the women said they never drank and another 21 percent said they used to consume alcohol but currently did not.
The increased risk was smaller, around four percent, for former drinkers and for women who currently had four to six drinks a week.
For those who had seven to 13 drinks a week, the risk increase was seven percent compared to light drinkers.
‘The take-home message is that African-American women are also at increased risk of breast cancer due to alcohol use and should be encouraged to limit alcohol use,’ Giordano, who wasn’t involved in the study, said.