Doctors warn of link between alcohol and breast cancer
Photo: Video by fox4now.com
CREATED May. 7, 2013 - UPDATED: May. 7, 2013
CAPE CORAL, Fla. - A lot of laughter fills the room at a support group for women overcoming breast cancer.
"Laughter is the best medicine for me," said Kim Mickelson who was diagnosed with breast cancer three years ago.
"We come here a lot just to relax and be ourselves," said Cathy Helmsing. Cathy was diagnosed with breast cancer in October of 2011. Both women support each other and others who also fought to live.
Both Cathy and Kim feel the more knowledge the better when it comes to their health.
"I don't want to do anything to help the cancer come back," said Cathy.
For some women, alcohol could be the enemy. One study found having just three to six glasses of wine a week increases a woman's risk for breast cancer by 15%. New research points the finger at an enzyme that breaks down the alcohol you put in your body. The women who have higher levels of that enzyme could be at risk for breast cancer if they drink.
Oncologist Dr. Christopher Chitambar hopes this knowledge will lead to one more way women can protect themselves.
"This enzyme, when it's elevated it results in conversion and creation of more toxic species," said Dr. Chitambar. "Everybody wants to see what they can do with their lifestyle to reduce their risk of cancer."
Kim hopes other women are listening to their doctors and the new research.
"I don't want anyone to go through what I've gone through. So, if you can reduce your odds, just put that other glass to the side."
Doctors say not every woman's body produces a higher level of this enzyme. The hope down the road is to develop a test to identify the women who do. Doctor's can let them know they might be at a greater risk if they choose to drink.