Women drinking wine and not considering the link between consuming alcohol and breast cancer risk

What Is the Link Between Alcohol and Breast Cancer?

If you or someone you care about is struggling with alcohol addiction, getting help is vital for many reasons. In addition to the harm excess drinking can cause a person’s relationships, family, job, safety, and general functionality, it also poses serious long-term health risks. Alcohol and breast cancer have an especially problematic relationship. 

If you’re looking for addiction therapy programs, consider what Recovery Ranch PA offers in Wrightsville. Our knowledgeable and experienced staff of professionals is eager to answer your questions or help you enroll in one of our programs. Simply call 717.969.9126 or reach out online to get started. 

How Are Alcohol and Breast Cancer Connected?

Excess alcohol use substantially increases women’s risk of developing breast cancer. Research suggests this is primarily the case for women who have completed menopause. For women who have completed menopause, it is beneficial to take the following measures: 

  • Staying physically active and maintaining healthy body weight since fat cells also produce estrogen
  • Limiting alcohol consumption since this increases estrogen
  • Exercising caution before seeking hormone therapy to reduce menopausal symptoms since this often includes an estrogen component

Nonetheless, those who have not yet made this age-related transition but drink heavily likely also have increased risk. 

The reason for the connection between alcohol and breast cancer is that alcohol increases the production and metabolism of the sex hormone estrogen. This hormone, while undoubtedly essential for many processes of growth and development, can also act as a carcinogen. One of estrogen’s key roles is to prompt cell growth. When it is present in excess, its “grow” message can become over-amplified, leading to cancer. Likewise, specific metabolites of estrogen—products formed when the hormone is broken down—can damage DNA, creating cancer cells. 

What to Expect from an Alcohol Addiction Treatment Program 

Of course, rehab centers may have alcohol addiction treatment programs that differ in components. However, there are a few significant features of effective alcohol use disorder treatment that are typically included, such as: 

  • Medical detox – Under a doctor’s care, you’ll safely withdraw from your chemical dependence on alcohol. This may include taking medication to help manage withdrawal symptoms such as cravings or pain. 
  • Individual therapy – One-on-one work with a counselor or therapist can help you identify the root causes of your drinking, develop healthy coping mechanisms to use when you face triggers, and identify any co-occurring mental health issues you may have. 
  • Group therapy – Peer support makes a massive difference to those in recovery from alcohol addiction. In particular, 12-step programs have a strong track record for helping people gain and maintain sobriety. They encourage accountability, peer support, reliance on a higher power, and active self-reflection. 
  • Holistic therapies – Addiction treatment specialists may include additional services such as art or music therapy. These holistic approaches help clients work with their thoughts and feelings through a mode that doesn’t rely on verbal processing. Moreover, getting the whole body involved promotes health, present-moment awareness, and external engagement.

Estrogen is needed for several types of cancer to grow—namely breast, ovarian, and uterine—and alcohol increases blood estrogen levels. It’s thus well worth getting free from alcohol dependence as soon as possible. Fortunately, many effective treatments exist for this substance use disorder, and accredited clinics like Recovery Ranch PA are here to help. 

Don’t wait another day to get the support you or your loved one deserve in overcoming alcohol addiction. Our knowledgeable and experienced staff of professionals at Recovery Ranch PA can answer your questions and help you find a program that works for you or your loved one. Contact Recovery Ranch PA today at 717.969.9126 or online to learn more. 

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