25 Apr Do Countries That Drink Less Have Less Breast Cancer? Let’s Look at the Evidence.
Do Countries That Drink Less Have Less Breast Cancer? Let’s Look at the Evidence.
By: STEPHANIE MENCIMER | MotherJones
Earlier this month, I published a story looking at the link between alcohol consumption and cancer. The science in this area is pretty clear: Alcohol is implicated in about five percent of all cancer cases, and 15 percent of all breast cancers. The news came as a surprise to a lot of people, as it did to me when I was diagnosed with breast cancer last year. Since my story came out, I’ve had many conversations with friends, colleagues and readers all wanting to know more about their own personal risk from drinking, how much is too much, and whether it’s too late to cut back.
These are all important questions on an individual level, but when it comes to cancer and alcohol, individual risk isn’t really the right focus for a broader public health discussion. Sure, it’s important for people to try to reduce their own personal exposure, but fighting alcohol-related cancer can’t solely focus on me and you. Prevention has to address a much broader population, to impact people who don’t read Mother Jones, for example, or young people who don’t know that alcohol is a carcinogen.
Consider breast cancer:
The good news is that breast cancer deaths in the US have fallen nearly 40 percent since 1989. The bad news is that the incidence rate of new cases has barely budged, and after a drop around 2000, they’ve been ticking up again slightly.