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Drinking Alcohol!

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Hello, I figured I better come here for some advice. I am a 8 year Breast Cancer Survivor. I have a history of Breast Cancer on my Mothers side of the family. However, I am a bit worried. I drink alcohol. I have about 4 drinks a week. If not more. I am a social drinker. I am to the point of getting worried that my Cancer may come back in my Right Breast. Should I stop this drinking? Please help. 

Kaloni  

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  • claireinaz
    claireinaz Member Posts: 679
    edited March 2014
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    Hi Kaloni,

    I've struggled with this "some alcohol is okay", some isn't, since my own dx.  My current belief is that a GLASS of red wine 2 or three x a month is probably okay. The research goes back and forth on this issue, with no clear guidelines on how much is too much and if we should do it at all.  It's infuriating since I'm like you...a social drinker.  You don't say what kind of BC you had.  ILC seems to be more affected by alcohol...I know that binge drinking is not okay for any of us.  

    The question I ask myself is:  do I want to risk drinking now and then look back if I have a recurrence and wish that I had simply said "no"? Especially when I could have?  

    Others will weigh in, I'm sure.

    Claire in AZ

  • Kalonis52
    Kalonis52 Member Posts: 8
    edited March 2014
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    Hi Claire, Thank you for responding..I had IDC Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. It is a fast spreading type of Cancer. Yes, I should lesson my drinking. But, its so hard. Ha. I am having 4 drinks a week. Ha...I normally have a Beer and 2 CranBerry and Vodka's twice a week. Ha. I do not drink at home. I want to quit this. So, I am going to lesson my going out. Ha. It really scares me Claire. I hope I can do this.

    Kaloni 

  • Mausie
    Mausie Member Posts: 12
    edited November 2014
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    Hi to all!

    I stopped drinking alcohol when I was diagnosed with a second breast cancer which was ER+. The first one I had, which was in 2006 (8 years ago) was ER and PR negative, but HER+++ positive, which is an aggressive tumor. Then in the same right breast (what's left after lumpectomy) a second tumor appeared Sept 2013 which was ER+ (a different kind of tumor). They say if you have a diagnosis of ER+ you should not drink alcohol, or limit it. Well I've had enough of this breast cancer and so I stopped. Sometimes I miss it, but stopping is not all that bad. You can still have fun - you just think you cannot. Just drink something else, and talk and enjoy the social life drinking ginger ale or fruit juice. I haven't had a drink since Sept 2013, and I will never again. Why risk it? I think if there is a question as to it bringing back cancer, it is just plain stupid to drink, and not worth it, unless you are trying to get cancer again. Believe me, I loved having a glass of wine, but I feel great, and have just as much fun now that I am used to it. YOU CAN DO THIS! DON'T CONTINUE DRINKING - LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL AND FUN WITHOUT IT!


  • claire_in_seattle
    claire_in_seattle Member Posts: 2,793
    edited November 2014
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    Relax everyone!!!!!!....this is all based on the study that was quite the sensation at the 2009 San Antonio conference. Newer studies have not borne out these findings. One problem with the data at that time was that not enough patients who received hormonal therapy to break out that group. So not apples to apples considering that most of us ER+ ladies do either Tamoxifen or an AI. Anyway, my take is that thousands of women were scared to death unnecessarily. At that time, the remarks made my Michelle Holmes of Harvard were that overall survival was the same, even for that group, because of the heart-protective advantages of moderate drinking.

    Newer studies have come to different conclusions. One was done by Dr. Pharoah of Cambridge University, and another at Fred Hutchinson here in Seattle (a major wine drinking city, not to mention micro-breweries, and now micro-distilleries). I am posting a CBS news article which also has a link to the study findings.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/moderate-drinking-may-increase-breast-cancer-survival-rates/

    I did not drink during chemo as thought my liver had enough work to do, but I dearly love wine. And then I realized that the worst outcome would not be to continue to drink wine and have my cancer come back (because who knows the real reason anyway). It would be to give up something I dearly love and find a wonderful ongoing adventure and have it come back anyway. So I continue to hang out at the wine bar, do things like wine-and-cycling adventures, and may do a 5k/wine tasting run in a couple of weeks.

    I am off on a pumpkin pie warm up ride in a few. And, yes I will have either wine or beer with the pea soup I am making later. My counsel, is moderation in everything, and make sure you enjoy life. - Claire

  • Mausie
    Mausie Member Posts: 12
    edited November 2014
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    Hi Clare, and thanks for your reply. If that is the case, then why does this site, Breastcancer.org, advise that if you can stop drinking alcohol, then it is better to stop?

    I would love to go back to drinking an occasional glass of wine, but since I read their article, I stopped and told everyone that was the reason. I think my family would have a fit if I came back and said it was all wrong, based on questionable data. Better safe than sorry? I'm just saying that if you want to stop it is not difficult; it is easier than one thinks, and you can still have fun.

    Well, to each her own - I wish everyone well.

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,759
    edited November 2014
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    "My counsel, is moderation in everything, and make sure you enjoy life. - Claire "

    Two thumbs up to that. I was stage IV from the start. Although I consume a healthy variety of foods, I never worry about enjoying things I really love that make me happy. That includes a drink when I feel like it. I have been NED for over 3 years. I have no idea why I have done so well, but I never fret about what I eat or drink. As I said, my diet has always been good but there is no compulsion about any of it.

  • ninetwelve
    ninetwelve Member Posts: 328
    edited November 2014
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    Kalonis, I cut my alcohol intake in half (from 5-7 drinks a week) since my diagnosis two months ago, and will continue to reduce it as I can. I hope to someday become a "rare or never" drinker of alcohol. Unlike Maisie (congratulations on your resolution and commitment to good health!), I don't know if I can cut out all drinking completely and suddenly. It is too ingrained in my social life, and quitting involves creating new rituals and activities.

    But my oncologist (on top of everything I've read) tells me alcohol is not good for ER+ cancers. I also notice that I sleep worse and have more hot flash (more like "warm flash") episodes on nights when I've had anything to drink earlier. And that I have less energy the next day. And the one time I drank to the point of being drunk, my hangover was brutal, with a component of depression and despair that I don't want to experience again.

    Changing my social activities helps to reduce the social drinking. Instead of going to a pub or restaurant, I've started joining my friends for shopping or the theater or something else where drinking is not the norm.

  • SelenaWolf
    SelenaWolf Member Posts: 231
    edited November 2014
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    My oncologists said that drinking in moderation was fine, even with ER+ cancer because no causal link has been found nor is likely to be, so I continue to enjoy wine on occasion after reading the research for myself. No regrets, no guilt.

  • edwards750
    edwards750 Member Posts: 1,568
    edited November 2014
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    My oncologist said the same thing to my sister in law. She enjoys a glass of wine pretty much every night and sometimes more than one glass. She and my brother are very social so I'm sure they consume more on their nights out. She is almost 6 years out from BC insitu.

    I never drink at home only when we go out for dinner or a party. Some weekends not at all. I like you believe in everything in moderation.

    Diane

  • meow13
    meow13 Member Posts: 1,363
    edited November 2014
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    Does anyone else find that drinking wine causes you to eat more? Or stop caring as much about caloric intake?

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,759
    edited November 2014
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    Drinking alcohol definitely loosens your inhibitions. So, for many, it probably does lower ones self control. I usually only have a drink before dinner or a glass of wine with dinner so I eat my normal meal. If I have a beer, on the other hand, I feel very full and don't eat at all.

  • funthing42
    funthing42 Member Posts: 236
    edited December 2014
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    Hi

    I guess whole bottles are bad.

    I never realized that there was a correlation with er+ BC.

    Anyway. I'm having a rough time.

    I have had breast Ca 3 times in 5 years. 2009 start.

    Stage 1 each time. Er+ Prog+ her- grade 2. Lumpectomy/Rads/Anastrozole.

    2013 Second time Er+ Prog- Her2+

    B/L masectomy/ Chemo/Anastrozole /herceptin. July 2014 finished chemo.

    Still having Herceptin infusion.

    Then Sept 2014. I noticed a rash like lumps. Went to surgeon incision biopsy/ frozen slide. Cancer is back. Waiting for path report. Pet scan came back neg.

    I really do not know what to do.

    Is there such a thing for it to just come back in the skin. They are talking more Rads. To afraid to get a second opinion due to the time already wasted with the wrong treatment.

    I Feel like my head will explode. First and second time I researched the @!#* out of it. Now I feel like a empty shell going along for the ride.

    Yuck. I think I'm in shock.




  • maxfischerfan
    maxfischerfan Member Posts: 1
    edited June 2015
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    Hi, all. This is an interesting thread. I'm embarrassed to post this but feel I need some support. Before my diagnosis, I had a glass or two of wine a night, some evenings more. I tried AA but didn't stick with the program. During cancer treatment and after my diagnosis, I stopped drinking completely. The past year I have noticed a marked increase in my drinking - ironically, sometimes as a tool to reduce stress from fear of a recurrence. Now I have fallen into a pattern of drinking far too much one evening, very hungover and regretting it the next day, not drinking for five days or so and then start the cycle all over. Binge drinking is truly the worst thing I could be doing right now for my health, so I am going to start attending AA and really try and commit to a program.

    Question: this pattern has been going on for almost a year. Is it possible to "reverse" any of this damage if I am able to stop abusing alcohol? Thanks for your advice. I'm scared and want to quit.

  • LM070917
    LM070917 Member Posts: 68
    edited December 2015
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    I used to drink alcohol prior to diagnosis, but have completely stopped since then. I'm ER positive. Alcohol prevents your liver from functioning properly, by failing to get rid of excess estrogen and reduces the immune, so why would you risk it? I've read that having up to three drinks a week is enough to bring on recurrence, I'd rather live...than go through it all again, knowing it could have been self inflicted

  • wallycat
    wallycat Member Posts: 1,249
    edited February 2016
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    Quite a few threads on alcohol and BC. Everyone in the science community wants to put in their opinions, but frankly, to me, that is all it is...opinion. I've known women alcoholics who do not get breast cancer (sad life, but no cancer) and non-drinkers who end up with cancer. They don't know.

    My onco also said a glass of wine with dinner is healthy. Some studies point to wine as killing cancer cells.

    It is a crapshoot. If we knew, I would be happy to give it up. As it stands, I only change things that are certain. Wine gives me pleasure and having a glass with dinner, to my mind, is part of the Mediteranean life-style.

  • hipline
    hipline Member Posts: 72
    edited February 2016
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    I gave up alcohol for one year, 2014, and paid special attention to my blood work, tumor markers, state of mind, weight, sleep patterns etc. I found no benefit (except maybe saving a little money!) and realized that the occasional glass of wine or margarita was better for me than abstinence. Moderation is my goal and enjoying my life!

  • Numb
    Numb Member Posts: 307
    edited February 2016
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    Recently diagnosed and stopped drinking wine immediately.  Had been having about 4 alcohol beverages about 4 times a week.   I will never touch it again.  The way I look at it had I been sticking to a total healthy diet with exercise and no alcohol I may not have gotten this cancer, so giving up alcohol has to be the first step to being healthier.  I am sure there are lots of cases of people on unhealthy diets and alcoholics not getting cancer but in people who might be susceptible to it it has to be dangerous, in the same way that some people can smoke 100 cigarettes a day and never get cancer.  They are just people whose make up doesn't encourage cancer and they are lucky.  I consider myself susceptible to all cancers, as there is a lot of cancer in my family tree, so because of this I am chosing to give up alcohol.  Bad enough being diagnosed with cancer but having to give up wine as well is a double whammy.  I guess though that I will get used to it and if it means that I lessen my chances of a recurrence down the line then I consider it worth it.  There is no general rule on alcohol that suits everyone, it all depends on your genes.

  • Numb
    Numb Member Posts: 307
    edited February 2016
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    God Suersis when you put it like that I never realized I was taking 16 drinks a week and when on holidays every night.   Will never touch alcohol again.  Having my op tomorrow and can't wait as the waiting is causing me a lot of anxiety.  

  • edwards750
    edwards750 Member Posts: 1,568
    edited February 2016
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    I believe in everything in moderation. I drink when we go out to dinner or a party or sporting event - usually beer. Don't like wine and it doesn't like me. You can read 10 different articles and get 10 different opinions. Ditto with anything with sugar in it. To each her own,

    Diane

  • Redporchlady
    Redporchlady Member Posts: 15
    edited April 2016
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    Before my diagnosis I drank 1 glass a wine a night and on weekends I drank 4-5 drinks.  My liver enzymes were elevated when they found the cancer so they suspected it had already spread.  I had MRI's and PET Scan and it just showed in my breast and lymph nodes.  I quit drinking completely during chemo, surgery and radiation.  During chemo it was amazing because my liver enzymes all actually came back to normal.  I now only have wine on the weekends and drink a lot of water during the week.  I follow the WINS clinical low fat diet for triple negative breast cancer and all my blood counts are normal.  I worry about recurrence but also do enjoy my wine on the weekends so I believe in moderation.  One thing that I do when out socially is that I drink red wine so I drink it slow and I always drink 1 -2 glasses of water to a glass of wine.  I think that helps me to not eat to much also.  With the low fat diet - I got this from the dietician at my cancer clinic.  You take your weight and divide by 6 and that is how much fat I can have a day.  I also walk 30 minutes (3.5-4mph) every day. 

  • meow13
    meow13 Member Posts: 1,363
    edited April 2016
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    If it only was as simple as never drinking alcohol again, but it isnt. If we knew what caused are cancer and recurrence we would have b this one solved.

  • chisandy
    chisandy Member Posts: 11,244
    edited April 2016
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    Before my diagnosis, I would have a glass of wine with a good meal that warranted it--sort of averaged out to about 5 glasses a week, and if at wine tastings or pairing dinners, having only about an ounce per “glass.” Then when I was diagnosed I asked my care team. My PCP said a glass a day is fine, but just make it red. When I reminded him the tumor was ER+, he said that each “glass” should be about 2-3 oz. and I’d be fine. I asked my BS, and she said 3 drinks a week would be fine. My MO said 2 drinks a week. My shrink, who is also an oenophile, said he wouldn’t be surprised to find that no amount of alcohol is safe. My BS’ nurse--a bc survivor--said, and I quote--“moderation in all things.” So the ball is back in my court.

    I have always hated feeling tipsy or the slightest bit out of control. So I don’t drink for a buzz, because I don’t like a buzz. I will not drink without a meal. I will not drink just because it’s available, free, or offered to me. It’s gotta be really, really good wine or champagne (I don’t drink spirits or any beer other than non-alcoholic)--something I would go out of my way and pay a goodly amount were I to buy a bottle of it. Most nights I don’t drink, because the meal doesn’t warrant it and I want to waste my calories elsewhere. But when I do, I never have more than 2 or 3 oz. at a time. I bought a “Coravin,” which pierces the intact capsule & cork and shoots inert argon gas into the bottle w/o opening it, and lets me store a bottle indefinitely after sampling it. One ounce of something wonderful is all I need--no urgency to finish the bottle within a certain time lest it go bad. It won’t work on sparkling wines, of course, because the pressure would be too dangerous and explosive.

    I do make exceptions for Europe and vacations. But even there I usually don’t finish the glass. And it has to be the good stuff. Plonk is not worth the calories or the health risk (which, as I understand it, is that alcohol inhibits the liver from clearing estrogen from the bloodstream--yet if AIs have shut down estrogen production.....).

    Face it--my family cardiovascular history is a trainwreck. My dad never drank--had three heart attacks at 50 and died of his fourth at 72. Mom got “cor pulmonale” (CHF from COPD) 20 years after kicking a 50-yr 3 pack/day habit; her cardiologist said that her daily “nightcap” of a little pinot grigio or a shot of blackberry brandy helped her make it past 85. (Had she been smoke-free all her life, she probably still would be with us). My FIL was a teetotaler who lived till 90; but his wife, who enjoyed her beer, lived to almost 96......30 years after breast cancer. No rhyme or reason. But statistically, my heart is likelier to kill me before my breasts do, so whatever keeps it ticking....

  • labelle
    labelle Member Posts: 134
    edited April 2016
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    I find it easier to control my weight (something we know is important) if I don't drink. Aside from the empty calories, alcohol lowers all kinds of inhibitions, including the ones that help me stay on my diet and pass on seconds and desserts. This said, I do have a glass of white (I dislike red) wine occasionally-like once a month.

  • nurse88
    nurse88 Member Posts: 8
    edited June 2016
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    I drink more then that I have drink for the last three days too much stress never was a heavey drinker until Breast cancer talk to your Doc. they understand


  • jessie123
    jessie123 Member Posts: 134
    edited April 2019
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    I think drinking almost every evening since I was in my 30's caused my cancer. I quit two years ago because of the death of family and I ended up alone here --- so probably not a good idea to drink alone. Anyway I also gained a lot of weight after menopause. The excess weight and nightly drinking is what I do believe caused my cancer. Ton's of extra estrogen !!!!

  • meow13
    meow13 Member Posts: 1,363
    edited April 2019
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    I was not drinking any alcohol for years and my weight and exercise was very good. I think undo stress on a daily basis with no relief was partly to blame. No family history or BC genes known.

  • butterfly1234
    butterfly1234 Member Posts: 2,038
    edited April 2019
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    Love you ladies and “know" most of you from other threads. To drink alcohol or not is a very personal choice. My MO says 2 glasses a week max.

    I liked my white wine a lot prior to my Dx. I'm E+ and I'm sure my drinking didn't help.

    So I drank only occasionally these past two years. Hardly at all. Now that my risk increases a little more with a positive ATM variant, I'm off wine completely. It's just not worth it to me anymore.

    I read a great book , A Cancer in the Family by Theodora Ross. The author who is a genetic oncologist is also BRCA 1 carrier. She stopped drinking alcohol when she learned she was BRCA +. So I'm following her lead. The good news is my BP is down and I'm off my BP med. No more med for GERD either. The hardest part was re-educating my family and friends to stop offering me wine. They finally get it!

    Again, this is a totally personal choice and like our BC, there is not a one size fits all.

    Best of luck Numb! Sending prayers and healing energy

    Gentle hugs to all.

  • simonerc
    simonerc Member Posts: 154
    edited April 2019
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    Hi Butterfly1234,

    We keep bumping into each other! My MO says 2 glasses of wine maximum, two times per week. I never thought to ask if that was ATM related at all or just breast cancer/ER+. Have you been advised that ATM’ers need to watch alcohol consumption even more???

    Going in for my hysterectomy, tubes, BSO and reconstruction tomorrow.

    And met with MO today who found a node, axilla, that needs ultrasound. Brilliant.

    Sending strong positive thoughts your way! I saw you met with the genetic oncologist. I hope you found it helpful! Information is power! Keep talking to super smart doctors and make the best decisions you can live with

    All the best!

  • tb90
    tb90 Member Posts: 279
    edited April 2019
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    So you have the prevention of breast cancer and all recurrences. No alcohol. If only it was that simple. Or maybe we can have one drink. Or two per weekend. Or seven per week.

  • simonerc
    simonerc Member Posts: 154
    edited April 2019
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    I know TB90. And the batteries on my crystal ball just ran out of juice!

    Was wondering if there is science based evidence for us mutants? An extra layer of excitement!

    Cheers!????