Students should think twice before they have their next drink.
A recent study revealed that having three or more alcoholic drinks a day increases a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer 30 percent. Women who drank one to two alcoholic drinks a day have an increased risk of 10 percent.
Researchers from the Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program followed more than 70,000 women of different ethnicities for seven years and tracked their drinking habits. By 2004, 2,829 of the women in the study had developed breast cancer.
The type of alcohol did not affect the numbers. Even when wine was divided into red and white, the risks of women developing breast cancer were still the same.
Dr. Arthur Klatsky, the lead researcher of the study, said these numbers need to be taken seriously.
“A 30 percent increased risk is not trivial,” Klatsky said. “To put it into context, it is not much different from the increased risk associated with women taking oestrogenic hormones. Incidentally, in this same study we have found that smoking a pack of cigarettes or more per day is related to a similar [30 percent] increased risk of breast cancer.”
Dr. Eva Surmacz, an associate professor at Temple, said that increased levels of estrogen affects a persons risk of developing breast cancer. Surmacz, who specializes in the link between obesity and breast cancer, said that studies have shown that alcohol increases levels of estrogen.
Because of heavy drinking, the study states that approximately an extra 5 percent of all women will develop breast cancer. Klatsky said that this study will hopefully give heavy drinkers a reason to quit.
It is unclear whether students at Temple will take this study seriously. Chelsea Whelan, a freshman nursing major, said she doesn’t think the shock value of the study will affect people’s drinking.
“I think people will be like ‘Wow that’s scary,’ but it won’t stop people from drinking,” Whelan said.
Takako Sato, a senior broadcast journalism major, said she was unsure of the study’s findings. “Honestly it could be true, but I’m skeptical. I don’t drink that much so it doesn’t affect me,” Sato said.
Sato said that the biggest problem is the ingrained idea of drinking that is prevalent on campus.
Aswathy Thomas, a freshman biochemistry major, said that drinking is bad for people, so of course there are going to be repercussions.
“I think people drink because they think it’s fun. They don’t think about how it’s going to affect them. They are living for the moment,” Thomas said.
“Nothing curbs people over drinking but it is important to raise awareness,” Surmacz said.
LeAnne Matlach can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.