Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Breast Cancer Health Center

Font Size

Alcohol Raises Risk of Specific Breast Cancers

Risk May Be Confined to Certain Type of Tumor

Weighing the Risks

The findings suggest that alcohol and hormone therapy act more strongly together to promote ER-positive breast cancers. But Wolk acknowledges that there are still many unanswered questions about the association.

It was not clear how long the women in the study had taken hormones, how recently they had taken them, or which combination of hormones they took. Wolk says that information about total duration of alcohol use was not gathered. Also, Wolk reports that other studies have not demonstrated a similar association between alcohol and ER-positive breast tumors.

Heather Feigelson, PhD, tells WebMD that the association makes sense because alcohol use and hormone treatment have independently been linked to an increase in ER-positive breast cancers.

Feigelson, an American Cancer Society epidemiologist, also studies the impact of alcohol use on breast cancer risk.

She recommends that postmenopausal women discuss their individual risks with their doctor when weighing whether to have an occasional drink. On the plus side, moderate drinking -- defined as one drink or less a day -- has been shown to help protect against heart disease and is suspected of reducing the risk of dementia.

But for women with other risk factors for breast cancer, such as obesity or a family history of breast cancer, the risks of moderate drinking may outweigh the benefits.

"The modifiable risk factors for breast cancer are few," she says. "They include losing weight if you are overweight, exercising, not taking hormones, and not drinking alcohol."

1 | 2

Today on WebMD

Breast Cancer Overview
From self-exams and biopsies to reconstruction, we’ve got you covered.
Dealing with breast cancer
Get answers to your questions.
woman having mammogram
Experts don’t agree on all fronts, but you can be your own advocate.
woman undergoing breast cancer test
Many women worry. But the truth? Most abnormalities aren’t breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Treatments Improving
Resolved To Quit Smoking
Woman getting mammogram
Screening Tests for Women
ovarian cancer overview slideshow
serious woman
what is your cancer risk
10 Ways to Revitalize Slideshow