How is smoking and drinking alcohol related to breast cancer?

Decreased health. The heavy use of smoking and/or alcohol has a deleterious effect on your overall health. It can weaken the immune system, in particular, and that alone makes one more susceptible to cancers of all types. In addition, if circulation is impaired, your immune system cannot send the killer antibodies it needs to kill the tumor cells.
Alcohol bad. Alcohol will increase your risk of breast cancer. Smoking will bad, doesn't seem to dramatically increase the risk of breast cancer.
Likely contribute. Both smoking and alcohol are risk factors for almost all cancers, impair immunity, contributing to growth of cancers. And alcohol contributes to weight gain, and obesity is a risk factor for cancer of the breast.

Related Questions

Can drinking alcohol increase the risk of breast cancer?

Yes. Use of alcohol in a inappropiate manner, such as continous alcohol dependency has been found to increase the chances of developing breast cancer.
Too much, yes. This is a controversial topic, but most major studies agree that heavy drinking increases risk by about 10% for each daily drink. It is extremely difficult to measure the effect if any of low to modrate drinking, especially when it comes to wine. At least one good study from france found that daily consumption of up to 2 glasses of red wine per day was associated with a significantly lower risk.
Yes. Studies show that women who drink more than 4 drinks per week are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer. This may be because alcohol can limit the liver's ability to break down estrogen, causing elevated estrogen levels.

Please explain relative risk. For instance, "alcohol use increases breast cancer risk by 12% for every daily drink." What does that mean exactly?

Not sure. The incidence of breast cancer has remained fairly fixed for the past 50 yrs. The rate is about 1 in 7 developing the tumor which is the same in all countries exposed to the mouse with the MMTV virus. In Australia where there are mouse plagues the rate changes to 1 in 3 during the plague. Alcohol, when reducing immunity if taken in excess can enhance certain cancer such as oral squamous Ca.

My mom had breast cancer at 54 and so did her cousin -- should I not drink alcohol?

Personal decision. Epidemiologic results involving breast cancer are highly variable, with some studies showing alcoholism to be a risk factor, others not. Perhaps Folic Acid deficiency, which affects many problem drinkers, is the rason. Nobody has evidence that moderate use of alcohol places one at risk for breast cancer. The key is keeping vigilant for early detection.

Is there a connection between alcohol use and breast cancer?

NO. 2 causes of breast cancer: ionizing radiation and estrogen/progesterone combo products.
Alcohol. Alcohol can compromise immune system but I am not aware of direct correlation with cancer, except in women since it may increase estrogen levels.
Yes. Many studies have confirmed an association between alcohol intake & breast cancer, though the degree of risk varies. In general, a woman who drinks 3 mixed drinks a week has a 15% higher risk of breast ca as a non drinker; this risk may go up by ~10% for each extra drink a day. This increase is most pronounced for estrogen-sensitive tumors; it is believed that alcohol may boost estrogen levels.
Maybe weak. Epidemiology generates all sorts of ever-changing correlations. The review in jama nov '11 reinforced what most of us think; if there's a relationship, it's weak, and I suspect it has more to do with some other correlating lifestyle factor or the drinker's low folate (folic acid) levels. The relationship is anything but obvious clinically.

I have had breast cancer and heard you shouldn't drink soy milk. I drink one glass a day. Is this ok?

No problem. Some chemicals in soy have estrogen-like properties. The amount of those chemicals is small. There is little hard data that soy is a risk, and it may be more like chemicals studied for preventing breast cancer. This article discusses that: j am coll nutr october 2001 vol. 20 no. Suppl 5 354s-362s.
Phytoestrogens. Can be components of some soy products, and if you had an er+ breast tumor, this *might* be a concern, but check with your oncologist...It is not clear that all soy milks have estrogenic activity or that they stimulate breast er+ tumors, in people, in mice, or even petri dishes.

Estrogen + breast cancer currently on chemo is it ok to drink a protein drink sometimes that has soy in it?

Best to avoid excess. In general soy intake should be limited in women. There is really no science to guide us as to how much soy is too much. We do know that soy products act estrogen like in our bodies. Probably best to limit amount of soy products. Now if you only take one shake a day and don't consume other soy products you are definitely ok.
Probably. Much interest and research o0n phyto Estrogens in soy products. No convincing clinical studies to contra indicate soy in diet- especially if occasional use. Check to see the content of soy- if it is the predominant source for the protein and you are worried don't. If your chemo is anti estrogen or aromatase inhibitor, even less data.