HOUSTON -- Whether it's wine with dinner, happy hour or poppin' bottles on the weekend, there's nothing quite like grabbing a drink-- or three-- with good company.
But sip on this: doctors say just one alcoholic drink per day can increase your chances of developing breast cancer by up to 10%! Two drinks bumps that up to 20%! Men can breathe a sigh of relief though-- this one's just for the ladies.
Oncologist Dr. Shagufta Naqvi said women really shouldn't drink alcohol at all.
"The risk for breast cancer is really significant. It's a striking correlation. When you drink alcohol, it increases the estrogen and progesterone levels in the body, and increased estrogen and progesterone increased the risk of estrogen-positive breast cancer," Naqvi said.
But in today's culture, drinking has become the center of most social events, so getting anyone to give up adult beverages for good might be tougher than doctors think.
"One or two drinks a week should be the limit. If you're having three drinks or more, you're increasing your risk across the board. If we have 100 patients with breast cancer, 4% of those will have it because of the gene. 96% will have it because of environmental factors," Naqvi said.
Aside from limiting alcohol intake, those environmental factors include proper diet, exercise and avoiding hormone replacement therapy. All those can contribute to lowering a woman's risk of developing breast cancer. And apparently, so does breast feeding!
"There's such a huge benefit when you breast feed for two years, that changes your breast structure in such a way that it's resistant to breast cancer. And the prime age women should be doing that is in their late 20s and early 30s-- ideally before 30," Naqvi said.
Overall, it sounds really unfair. But when statistics say 1 in 8 women in the US will develop breast cancer over the course of her lifetime, maybe it's time to start thinking twice about ordering that second drink.