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Alcohol and breast cancer

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Alcohol and breast cancer

Alcohol and Alcoholism doi:10.1093/alcalc/ags011

Drinking just one alcoholic drink a day increases breast cancer risk by approximately 4 per cent, according to a new meta-analysis. (the study defined a drink as containing 10-12g ethanol; a UK unit contains 8g.)

Consuming three or more drinks a day (approximately four UK units) increases the risk between 40 per cent and 50 per cent.

Based on the meta-analysis, the authors estimate that alcohol causes up to 5 per cent of breast cancers in northern Europe and North America. Light drinking alone is responsible for up to 1-2 per cent of breast cancers.

The authors point out that 'the breast is one of the most sensitive organs' for alcohol's carcinogenic action. As there is no safe threshold, they conclude that healthy women should not exceed one drink a day.

However, women at increased risk of breast cancer - including those with benign mastopathy or a family history of the malignancy - 'should avoid alcohol or consume alcohol only occasionally'.

Depression post-menopause

Journal of Clinical Nursing (2012) 21;923-928

Physical exercise seems to attenuate anxiety and depression in postmenopausal women.

Spanish researchers separated 60 women aged 60 to 70 years with depression and anxiety into 'control' and 'exercise' groups.

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