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Br J Cancer. 2012 Jan 31;106(3):592-5. doi: 10.1038/bjc.2011.561. Epub 2012 Jan 3.

Alcohol intake and mortality among women with invasive breast cancer.

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  • 1Division of Nutritional Epidemiology, Institute for Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Box 210, 171 77, Stockholm, Sweden.



Alcohol intake has consistently been associated with increased breast cancer incidence in epidemiological studies. However, the relation between alcohol and survival after breast cancer diagnosis is less clear.


We investigated whether alcohol intake was associated with survival among 3146 women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in the Swedish Mammography Cohort. Alcohol consumption was estimated using a food frequency questionnaire. Cox proportional hazard models were used to calculate hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs).


From 1987 to 2008 there were 385 breast cancer-specific deaths and 860 total deaths. No significant association was observed between alcohol intake and breast cancer-specific survival. Women who consumed 10 g per day (corresponding to approximately 0.75 to 1 drinks) or more of alcohol had an adjusted HR (95% CI) of breast cancer-specific death of 1.36 (0.82-2.26;p(trend)=0.47) compared with non-drinkers. A significant inverse association was observed between alcohol and non-breast cancer deaths. Those who consumed 3.4-9.9 g per day of alcohol had a 33% lower risk of death compared with non-drinkers (95% CI 0.50-0.90;p(trend)=0.04).


Our findings suggest that alcohol intake up to approximately one small drink per day does not negatively impact breast cancer-specific survival and a half drink per day is associated with a decreased risk of mortality from other causes.

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