Many studies show drinking alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer .
A pooled analysis of data from 53 studies found for each alcoholic drink consumed per day, the relative risk of breast cancer increased by about 7 percent .
Women who had 2-3 alcoholic drinks per day had a 20 percent higher risk of breast cancer compared to women who didn’t drink alcohol .
Whether drinking alcohol increases risk of estrogen receptor-positive breast cancers more than it increases the risk of estrogen receptor-negative breast cancers is under study .
Learn about alcohol and breast cancer survival.
Learn about alcohol use in the teen years and breast cancer risk.
Alcohol can change the way a woman's body metabolizes estrogen (how estrogen works in the body). This can cause blood estrogen levels to rise.
Estrogen levels are higher in women who drink alcohol than in non-drinkers . These higher estrogen levels may in turn, increase the risk of breast cancer .
Learn more about estrogen and breast cancer risk.
For a summary of research studies on alcohol and breast cancer, visit the Breast Cancer Research Studies section.
No one should drink a lot of alcohol.
Drinking low to moderate amounts of alcohol, however, may lower the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and death [22-24].
However, drinking more than 1 drink per day (for women) and more than 2 drinks per day (for men) has no health benefits and many serious health risks, including breast cancer .
Talk with your health care provider about the potential health benefits and risks of drinking low to moderate amounts of alcohol.
Susan G. Komen®’s breast self-awareness messages
1. Know your risk
2. Get screened
3. Know what is normal for you and see a health care provider if you notice any of these breast changes (see images):
4. Make healthy lifestyle choices