It is almost the end of October and here at BeYouPromise.org, we hope you are enjoying the beautiful autumn weather and all that the beginning of the fall season has to offer.
October is full of fun events that are cause of celebration, but this month is also breast cancer awareness month.
The Canadian Cancer Society uses the month of October to not only raise awareness of breast cancer, but also to get Canadians involved to take action to save lives. It is estimated that approximately 1 in 9 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, but did you know that men can also get breast cancer? While breast cancer is less common among men, some of the factors that increase the risk of developing breast cancer in women are also risk factors for men.
In particular, a known risk factor for breast cancer in both men and women is cirrhosis. Cirrhosis is scarring of the liver, which occurs when scar tissue replaces healthy tissue in the liver. A liver that has been damaged by cirrhosis causes abnormally high levels of estrogen levels and low androgen levels in the body, both of which are associated with a greater risk of developing breast cancer.
Drinking alcohol can cause this scarring on the liver, but alcohol consumption is also known to increase the risk of cancer outside of its effect on the liver. Alcohol can increase levels of estrogen and other hormones associated with breast cancer. It can also impair your body’s ability to absorb a variety of nutrients that can help decrease the risk of cancer. Consuming alcohol can also increase the risk of breast cancer by damaging DNA cells.
Lastly, some alcoholic beverages may contain a variety of carcinogenic contaminants that can further increase one’s risk for cancer. According to the Breast Cancer Society, research looking at the association between alcohol use and breast cancer has found that compared to women who do not drink at all, women who consume three drinks per week can have up to a 15% increased risk for developing breast cancer. It has also been estimated that the risk for breast cancer increases an additional 10% for each additional drink consumed.
The important take home message from this finding is that regularly drinking alcohol, even in smaller amounts, can harm your health. So with the start of a new season take the opportunity to make a new beginning for you and try cutting back on your alcohol intake. There are lots of simple ways to cut down on the amount of alcohol you drink; for example, virgin cocktails are a tasty and healthy way to enjoy any celebration. Get your friends and family involved! It is always easier to make a change when you have support from the people around you so make a group commitment to cut back on drinking.
BeYouPromise.org is also here to support you in your efforts to create a healthier and happier life. Take the Be You Promise today so you can start becoming the best you that you can possibly be and join us in January to kick start the new year in Dry Jan – 31 days of a Better You!