Does moderate alcohol consumption have a harmful effect on persons who have had breast cancer? I have had a lumpectomy, for early-stage, non-invasive, estrogen-positive cancer, and just finished radiation. I understand I will be going on Tamoxifen.
I enjoy having wine or a cocktail with meals. I also like to drink wine because there is heart disease in my family, and I know alcohol has a mitigating effect on that disease. Can you shed light on this subject?
Thanks for visiting my web site. You have asked a great question, one that I have not yet answered on my web site.
Most studies looking at foods/beverages and risk of breast cancer recurrence have found NO correlation with alcohol consumption. That is good news for people like you who not only enjoy an occasional glass of wine with meals for the pleasure of it but also for the potential risk reduction for heart disease. (Nutrition and survival after the diagnosis of breast cancer: a review of the evidence, Rock CL, Demark-Wahnefried, W, J Clin Oncol. 2002 Aug 1;20(15):3302-16)
In addition, close examination of the data showing increased risk of breast cancer with increased consumption of alcohol has shown that the correlation does not hold up if adequate folic acid is in the diet (~400 micrograms per day, which is the DRI and the amount usually in a multi-vitamin tablet). So eat your dark green leafy veggies (like kale!), which are powerhouses for folic acid and numerous helpful phytochemicals for protection against cancer and heart disease, too, when you enjoy your wine in moderation (no more than 1-4 ounce serving per day).
I have also included more information about food sources of folate (also called folic acid) below:
The FDA requires food manufacturers to add folic acid to enriched grain products such as breakfast cereals, bread, pasta, and rice so that each serving contains at least 20 % of the daily requirement. Some breakfast cereals contain 100 % (400 mcg) or more.
However, the FDA also emphasizes that adequate levels of folic acid, in the form of folate, can be obtained by eating food sources such as:
Leafy dark green vegetables
Other food sources include the following (highest to lowest sources):
Here are three delicious family favorite recipes from my web site that will put more folic acid on your plate:
faq posted 11/04
These questions and answers are intended to be of a general informative nature. Please consult with the Registered Dietitian in your cancer center or your health care provider for nutritional advice that can be individualized to your specific medical condition.
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