Can just a drink a day increase your breast cancer risk?

Dr. Jennifer Ashton appears live on "GMA" to discuss a new study on alcohol consumption and breast cancer risk.
2:56 | 05/23/17

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Transcript for Can just a drink a day increase your breast cancer risk?
We are back now with that important new health report revealing that just one alcoholic drink a day can increase your risk for breast cancer but also saying there are ways to reduce it and Dr. Jennifer Ashton is here. We were talking in the break about this. A lot of people are going to talk about it. Tell us about the study. This was basically an analysis of past studies looking at breast cancer and associated risk factors and when it comes to alcohol, not good news for summer cocktail season and found that alcohol is a convincing risk factor for pre and postmenopausal breast cancer. Now, let's do a deeper dive and how much. The number is seven or more alcoholic beverages a week. If you ask a woman do you have one drink a day they might say absolutely not. Just on the weekends but it's very easy to consume seven on the weekends and also wine seemed to be a bigger risk factor than beer or hard alcohol. When you are look at a serving of wine it's considered five ounces. It looks real small so drinking more you're getting more than seven drinks. Oh, my goodness. But there are ways, they're saying, you can lower the risk. Absolutely. And that's also the silver lining here. When you look at exercise. Any is beneficial. More is better when you look at vigorous exercise, it drops the risk of premenopausal breast cancer by 17%. Of postmenopausal by 10%. Vigorous being something like running where you're breathing hard and sweating. Moderate exercise, that's good too, walking, gardening lowers the risk by 13% and emphasize any exercise is beneficial, so don't feel like if you're not doing it every day it's not helping because it Just something, just move, move, move. What does that say about breast cancer and possible prevention. What I think is the most important message. There are some factors under our control and some factors not under our control. It's estimated one in three cases of breast cancer can be prevented by modifying certain behaviors. That's great, right? That's things like exercise, avoiding excessive alcohol, keeping your weight in a healthy range, eating, you know, a lot of fruits and vegetables and breast-feeding if possible. Here's the big but, you and I feel the same way, does not mean if you get breast cancer you did something wrong. But you hear this and it sounds like that's what's being said. That's right and that's what women and men who get breast cancer need to remember is that some of these factors are not under our control and saying breast cancer is like saying weather. Are you talking about a nor'easter, heat storm, rainstorm. There are genetic and environmental causes and behavioral causes so at the end of the day control the controllables, don't worry about the things you can't control. You can't pick your parents so if you have a strong family history nothing you can do but understand that everything is taken in moderation. If you're going to say give up the alcohol completely, then you have to consider brain health, heart health, other things and medicine is not in a vacuum. Have that discussion. We're behind the scenes with the "Dancing with the stars"

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