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Did you stop alcohol drinking?

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dani_katze
dani_katze Member Posts: 8
edited October 2017 in Alternative Medicine

Hi,

I would like to know who has consider to stop alcohol once and for all...

I didn't know the risk that alcohol represents for breast cancer, until I have it and read something about it.

I used to think that I was a normal drinker... Now, I think I drink too much, and more considering that I have had breast cancer. That's why I am trying to stop it at all.

Any insight is welcome. Thank you for reading.

dani_katze

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Comments

  • Fallleaves
    Fallleaves Member Posts: 134
    edited February 2016
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    Hi Dani,

    I think you are right to try and quit drinking. From time to time I try and stop, too, but unfortunately I keep going back to it. I have gotten into the habit of drinking red wine in the evening to relax. But of course there are lots of other ways to relax that are much better for you (meditation, walks, candles, etc). There are so many things we CAN'T control with breast cancer, but there are things we can, like not drinking, not smoking, exercising, reducing our stress levels, eating healthy foods. So, why not?? Good luck with your efforts, and thank you for the reminder that I should keep trying to stop drinking, too!

  • dani_katze
    dani_katze Member Posts: 8
    edited February 2016
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    Thanks Fallleaves for your answer.

    Since I knew alcohol may increase the risk of cancer, I have been trying to reduce the amount I used to drink and lately I've been trying to stop it at all. But it's not that easy, I also used to drink wine too, to relax a little... I will keep trying.

    dani

  • SelenaWolf
    SelenaWolf Member Posts: 231
    edited February 2016
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    I think what is so confusing is that everyone seems to have a different interpretation of what "moderate" drinking is. I've read some studies that define "moderate" as 2-3 drinks per week; I've seen other studies that say "moderate" is no more than 2-3 drinks per day. I, personally, like to keep my consumption around 2-3 drinks (usually wine) per week. However, I have other risk factors for developing breast cancer again (i.e., positive node, family history, etc.) that concern me more than my current alcohol intake. It all comes down to what you feel comfortable with.

  • divinemrsm
    divinemrsm Member Posts: 6,078
    edited February 2016
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    If anything. I drink more since the diagnosis!

    That might sound risqué. But I very rarely drank alcohol anyway. Then, a couple years after my diagnosis, my son turned 21. He's always been very responsible, and when he knew he could legally buy alcohol, it was fun and interesting to him. Through him, I started learning about all the different wines there were. I never knew! It was like stepping out of the black and white section of the Wizard of Oz into the living color version. What a difference! We would occasionally buy and try a bottle of wine when he was home from college and went on several wine tasting tours. I also tried various types of mixed drinks that I'd never had before, such as mimosas and frozen marguerites. We also try different beers, the latest being "not your father's rootbeer.'

    This isn't every night or even every weekend, more like a drink or two a month. Sometimes more around the holidays and some months, none at all.I even recently read up on wine glasses and bought my first really nice ones by Riedel even tho I mostly drink water or lemonade out of them.

    I don't want to live a pristine, perfect, by the book lifestyle. Moderation is the key, but complete abstinence, unless you have an addiction, doesn't seem necessary to me.

  • pipers_dream
    pipers_dream Member Posts: 187
    edited February 2016
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    I quit drinking altogether but I was never much of a drinker before. Since I'm single and love to hear live music, I go socialize at bars frequently but I just drink club soda or coffee lol. I think a lot of folks think I'm a reformed alcoholic b/c I have no desire to tell mere acquaintances that I have BC.

  • edwards750
    edwards750 Member Posts: 1,568
    edited February 2016
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    I don't think drinking contributes to a BC DX. My SIL drinks wine fairly often and she is an 8 year survivor. Her's was family history. Ditto mine. Iagree with MrsM everything in moderation. You can read 10 different articles on the subject and get 10 different opinions so do what you think is right. It's your life.

    Diane

  • molly1976
    molly1976 Member Posts: 78
    edited February 2016
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    My MO said I can have up to 2 glasses of wine a day - since that's more than I've ever drank anyway, I don't worry about it.

  • meow13
    meow13 Member Posts: 1,363
    edited February 2016
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    Mine says 3 glasses a week. Didn't say the size of glass. I cut it out mainly to help reduce caloric intake.

    Not really worried about alcohol as a risk. If it were as simple as eating/drinking and exercise there would be a lot less BC. Sick of hearing how you can do something different to prevent the disease. I was in the best most healthy shape when I got it.

  • gemini4
    gemini4 Member Posts: 320
    edited February 2016
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    No, I haven't given it up. I am much more mindful of my drinking, but I don't worry about the wine that I enjoy all that much. I am more concerned about cutting out sugar than alcohol.

    Interestingly, none of the "real life" (e.g., non-BC.org board posters) women I personally know who have had breast cancer have stopped drinking as a result of their diagnosis. It seems drinking is taken more seriously on this board! Not saying one is better than the other, I guess my observation is that we "boardies" may be different than the rest of the "civilians". ;-)

  • chisandy
    chisandy Member Posts: 11,319
    edited February 2016
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    I’ve cut way down--but my drinking was more gastronomic than for the buzz (I hate feeling out of control, so I don’t do weed either). I became an oenophile 40 years ago, and have a pretty varied wine cellar, wine tchotchkes (corkscrews, preservation devices, storage acccessories) and lots of varietal-specific glassware. I attended tastings, took wine country tours in many states and in Europe, and enjoyed winemaker-specific pairing dinners. I never opened a bottle or poured myself a glass unless a) what I was eating called for it; and b) it was really, really delicious. I’d rather have water or seltzer than cheap wine. Before my diagnosis, I had between 5-7 glasses (6 oz.) per week. Now I limit the size of my pours to 2-3 oz. and I don’t drink every day (more like 3 or so times a week). I don’t drink to de-stress--instead I sleep, cook, watch stuff I’d DVRed. play guitar or shop. Recently I noticed that sometimes I don’t even finish that 3-oz. glass if I’ve finished eating dinner.

    I don’t do beer, except sometimes a good non-alcoholic like Kaliber if it goes with what I’m eating..,but not often because it’s as carby as real beer. And I can’t recall the last time I had a cocktail or spirits.

    One purchase that has helped immensely was a Coravin preserver. Its needle pierces right through the foil and the cork and injects the bottle with inert argon gas that is heavier than air and blankets the surface of the wine in the bottle. Each pull of the trigger dispenses about 1/2-1 oz. of wine. Withdraw the device and the cork “heals” itself and the capsule remains on the bottle. The gas capsules aren’t cheap, so I must choose my wines carefully. But it allows me to open bottles I used to think were too expensive to open for just a glass, since they’d go bad if not finished w/in a couple of days (and of course, an open bottle sitting around was very tempting for both of us). The Coravin keeps the wine in the bottle preserved for months if not a year. (There’s a Cabernet I’ve gone back to three times in three months, and each glass tastes as good as the first one I poured back in December). It isn’t cheap, but it’s cheaper than killing off expensive bottles when all I want is a taste--and it’s easier to limit myself if the pour is small to begin with. And if it keeps me from endangering my health or sabotaging my diet, but still lets me enjoy wine, its benefit is priceless.

  • woodstock99
    woodstock99 Member Posts: 80
    edited February 2016
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    My drinking these days was limited to one vodka martini a week on average when we;d go out for dinner Saturday night. Some weeks no alcohol and occasionally maybe 2 martini's if we went out 2 nights. No doctor I have spoken to has said I need to give those up. If I needed to I would. I had my BMXon 1/12/16 and had my first martini in a month this past Saturday night. If I had to give up I would if I knew that would be guarantee of any possibility of recurrence. My issue/battle is going to be getting weight off not alcohol.

  • LM070917
    LM070917 Member Posts: 68
    edited February 2016
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    I stopped drinking the day I got diagnosed (5 months ago). There is a definite link between alcohol and breast cancer (ER+), as it prevents your liver from working properly and getting rid of excess estrogen. I drank a fair bit prior to diagnosis (not heavy) and am positive that it contributed. I've also heard that people who drink on average 3 drinks a week is enough to bring on recurrance. Since I've stopped, it's actually been really easy, because I just think what it did to my body and Idont want that again. http://www.irishtimes.com/news/health/more-than-900-get-cancer-from-alcohol-each-year-hse-warns-1.2522773

  • Myraknits
    Myraknits Member Posts: 191
    edited February 2016
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    Meo13, thank you for saying this. I beat myself over not dieting or exercising enough. I was also in fabulous shape, took care of myself ,etc. the last thing I need is to reinforce the voices in my head with more proof of what I missed or could have done better. I figure we do the best we can at the time. No need to worry about what happened. I'm just trying to do good maintenance from here on in.

  • traveltext
    traveltext Member Posts: 1,051
    edited February 2016
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    Great topic and interesting posts. Before BC I enjoyed a couple of glasses of wine in the evenings. Now, I find I still do! Should I stop drinking? Perhaps. Do I want to stop drinking? No. 


  • dani_katze
    dani_katze Member Posts: 8
    edited February 2016
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    Thanks for the insightful posts you wrote. Thanks a lot... it makes me think about this issue once again.

  • SoutherMother
    SoutherMother Member Posts: 7
    edited February 2016
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    I had always been told that alcohol doesn't cause cancer but it puts a magnifying glass on any genetic weakness. If you have a genetic flaw towards heart disease, it will magnify the odds of that flaw. Same for cancer

  • JuniperCat
    JuniperCat Member Posts: 392
    edited March 2016
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    It's interesting, not one of my doctors suggested that I cut down on drinking, however, my mother did! And I don't even drink that much

  • claireinaz
    claireinaz Member Posts: 680
    edited February 2016
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    dani katze,

    We struggle every day with trying to do the right thing. :) That means you are a very good person!

    The only time I drink anymore is when I get my clear, all systems go, five month checkup. Then I celebrate with wine. :) I think that too much alcohol--too much as in hangovers the next day--suppresses our immune systems and bit and can cause inflammation, which seems to (according to some research) be associated with a HIGHER risk of some cancers. Doesn't mean it causes it, though.

    Claire

  • muska
    muska Member Posts: 224
    edited February 2016
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    My MO advised me to drink red wine - in moderation, of course. When I asked what 'in moderation' means she said a glass of red wine with dinner. That's what I do nowadays. I did stop hard liquor though.

  • ShetlandPony
    ShetlandPony Member Posts: 3,063
    edited February 2016
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    These diet and lifestyle choices do not completely cause or prevent cancer. On the other hand, there is evidence that they can affect risk level for some people. I'm the kind of person that feels most comfortable doing what I can to improve my odds, because that helps me feel more hopeful and reduces regret. Since articles here on BCO and elsewhere said that alcohol may be particularly risky for ILC, when I was first diagnosed I gave up even the occasional glass of wine. Yeah, the bc still came back, but I feel better knowing I did what I could. Besides, I figure my liver has to deal with drugs and doesn't need any additional challenge. Alcohol was not a great pleasure to me so it was not hard to give it up entirely. I don't blame anyone who makes a different decision. Note that I still choose to consume the occasional sugary treat and I do not exercise every single day. Trying for perfection would be too hard.

  • edwards750
    edwards750 Member Posts: 1,568
    edited February 2016
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    BTW my doctor never told me to abstain from drinking either. I do drink a few beers when we go out but that's about it. Don't like wine and itdoesn't like me.

    Diane

  • gemini4
    gemini4 Member Posts: 320
    edited February 2016
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    You do the best you can. For every slim, fit, organic-eating vegan who gets breast cancer, there's the morbidly obese woman in the scooter smoking a cigarette who probably will never get breast cancer.

    (Days after my diagnosis, I saw the above-described scooter woman outside a CVS. Of course I'm sure she had a host of health problems, but I did feel quite sorry for myself at that moment.)

  • KateB79
    KateB79 Member Posts: 555
    edited February 2016
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    I drank a lot--most would say too much--of (good) beer in the years leading up to my diagnosis this past July. It's funny, because I remember thinking to myself, one hungover morning, that it might catch up with me one day. Maybe it did.

    I quit drinking completely before surgery and during chemo. Now, I have a couple, maybe three, glasses of wine or beer a week. The one and only time I imbibed a bit too heavily since diagnosis, I felt absolutely wretched the next day. . . Never again. My limit, even if I go out to a bar or a club, is two drinks in an evening.

    My MO and RO agree that quality of life is important; if I want to have a couple, they see nothing wrong with that.

    I'm pretty sure this, even more than chemo, has led to me losing 15 lbs. since my diagnosis. It's not weight I wanted (or needed) to lose, but it does say something about alcohol and calories!

    Moderation in all things. :)

  • LM070917
    LM070917 Member Posts: 68
    edited February 2016
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    I completely agree KateB79, I have lost 14 pounds by not drinking alcohol and the weight has just dropped off. It just shows the extra weight (excess estrogen) I was carrying around. Like you, I had my fair share of alcohol prior to diagnosis and since I found it I haven't been bothered for it. Haven't had any for 5 months. I can quite happily go to a social event and not think twice about it anymore. A bit like smoking I suppose, I used to do that also. I think I got so fed up of the hangovers, I could tell something was wrong and that's why I'm over it now.

  • abigail48
    abigail48 Member Posts: 337
    edited February 2016
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    & pretty much time to leave after everyone gets drunk and stupid

  • pipers_dream
    pipers_dream Member Posts: 187
    edited February 2016
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    One thing that has occurred to me as to why alcohol is associated with BC, but not all of us were drinkers, is b/c alcohol affects the liver. Another thing that impacts the liver is Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD), and this is common with diabetics and those with high sugar consumption. When I began this journey over 2 years ago, my liver was a mess, despite the fact that I haven't drunk much alcohol in 25 years! But I was a sugar-holic. So my thoughts are that if your liver is in good shape, drinking in moderation could be beneficial but if you still have a ways to go then stay away for now. Incidentally, higher levels of NAFLD is associated with tamoxifen use. Read here.

  • cb123
    cb123 Member Posts: 80
    edited April 2016
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    Hi Pipers_dream,

    You seem to be doing so well with your healthy eating approach. I'm curious, have you had any surgery for your tumor?

  • pipers_dream
    pipers_dream Member Posts: 187
    edited April 2016
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    cb I have not had surgery. I'm not ruling it out but the tumor has not grown in the 2-1/2 years since my dx so I'm sitting on that thought for now. I'd love for it to be gone for good but will settle for this eternatumor if I have to. I have a friend who got dx'ed 7 years ago and she still has done no conventional either and still has the tumor. BTW, I'm going to have a margarita on cinco de mayo--my birthday!

  • cb123
    cb123 Member Posts: 80
    edited April 2016
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    Happy birthday in advance!

    I'm going to plant more avocado seeds on Stinko de Mayo. Last year's tree got damaged a bit in the hot Arizona sun but it's healed well. They say it takes 2 trees for proper pollination so I figure it's time to get this guy some friends.

    BTW having wine with dinner soon as I'm done with this post.

    cb

  • ninetwelve
    ninetwelve Member Posts: 328
    edited October 2016
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    My first oncologist did say "with your kind of cancer you shouldn't be drinking at all." But he was a Mormon.

    Still, I drank a lot of beer in the years leading up to my diagnosis. I think it was a factor in my getting sick, with no family history. I also believe that continuous unmanaged stress, cigarette smoking, hormonal birth control, and poor diet were factors as well.

    I used to drink at home after work to unwind. And I did that even after diagnosis, because my cancer stopped growing and was stable for a year. Then it came back, two months ago, and I was "scared straight" (so to speak).

    Switched to medical marijuana in the evening, to relax. And a Kaliber or other non-alcoholic beer if I'm at a bar or other sociable event.