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Topic: Alcohol

Forum: Life After Breast Cancer —

Managing life after a breast cancer diagnosis, including rediscovering intimacy, coping with fear of recurrence, reconnecting relationships, sharing hobbies and interests, and finding inspiration in daily life.

Posted on: Jul 16, 2020 01:36PM

justme1964 wrote:

I hope I am in the right area. I am done with treatment and moving forward. I got my first mammo after initial diagnosis and it is NED. My oncologist and I spoke about drinking alcohol. She said no more then 5 - 7 drinks a week. I totally understand that and trying to eliminate my drinking, I cut down to 2 budlight seltzers a day.. but according to her that is even too much. just wondering what kind of drinks are safer then others to have in that 5 - 7 range? My birthday is coming up and of course I would like to have a few drinks but worried that even if I cut out/back my drinking that one day will make me have a recurrence?

Guess I really don't totally understand what is concerned moderation? If I don't drink for one week then I have 4 glasses of wine on the weekend, is that bad?

I know drinking is not good for so many reasons, but I want to enjoy on occasion without freaking out that OMG! For example, i had 8 drinks this week and now it will come back.

Thanks,




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Jul 16, 2020 02:03PM Peregrinelady wrote:

The information out there varies from no drinking to your oncologist’s advice. I try to limit my drinking to one drink 2 or 3 times a week, at most. Since I am estrogen positive, I want to limit the increase in estrogen that alcohol causes. Sorry, but I do not think it is okay to get your 4 drinks for the whole week in one sitting. And yes, I do understand, as I did enjoy a few beverages before diagnosis. I still do, just a lot less now.
Dx 4/24/2015, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 1/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 5/18/2015 Mastectomy: Left Hormonal Therapy 6/1/2015 Liquid tamoxifen (Soltamox) Surgery 4/19/2016 Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic ovary removal; Reconstruction (left): DIEP flap; Reconstruction (right): DIEP flap Hormonal Therapy 8/1/2016 Arimidex (anastrozole) Hormonal Therapy 7/20/2020 Femara (letrozole)
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Jul 16, 2020 02:16PM justme1964 wrote:

I am not am not saying to get all my drinks in one sitting, I am saying 4 drinks over the weekend.... I know binge drinking is not good. So I guess, I thought I was limiting my alcohol but now need to cut back more.. At my birthday party, I will keep in check with the drinking and try not to over do it.. I just want to put this all behind me and go forward and not think about this anymore, meaning cancer. I just want to go back to normal, where if I do over do my drinking on occasion, that I am not freaking out about it.

Just don't understand how all this works, my sister and I are the same size, weight, she drinks a lot more then me and she does not have it. Women who never drank gets it..

I guess I never realized that my drinking would cause this...

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Jul 16, 2020 02:28PM Peregrinelady wrote:

Sorry, I didn’t read that correctly. I used to only drink on the weekend so I know what you mean. Maybe 2 drinks on Friday and 2 on Saturday. Now I am spreading them out to one drink a few nights a week since it is summer (or not at all on some weeks). I blamed myself when the information about alcohol as a risk factor came out, but after some research, it looks like it is just another contributing factor that may have increased my chances a bit, but in my case genetics wins out because of family history. I can’t go back and change that but I can be smarter about future drinking. I didn’t drink for a year after diagnosis and now I limit it so that if it comes back, I won’t be kicking myself again. But I am also not going to quit completely as it is a quality of life issue with me.
Dx 4/24/2015, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 1/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 5/18/2015 Mastectomy: Left Hormonal Therapy 6/1/2015 Liquid tamoxifen (Soltamox) Surgery 4/19/2016 Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic ovary removal; Reconstruction (left): DIEP flap; Reconstruction (right): DIEP flap Hormonal Therapy 8/1/2016 Arimidex (anastrozole) Hormonal Therapy 7/20/2020 Femara (letrozole)
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Jul 16, 2020 02:43PM keepthefaith wrote:

My MO told me to limit to what is equivalent to no more than one drink/day. One shot, one 4 oz glass of wine, one beer, whatever. It's all about balance and as Peregrine said, alcohol increases Estrogen production and if you are ER+, therefore increases risk for a recurrence. Just try to keep it in check and be aware of the risks. Anyone who drinks will enjoy more than one on occasion. Best wishes!

Dx 9/17/2013, IDC, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 10/17/2013 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel Chemotherapy 12/2/2013 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Chemotherapy 12/25/2013 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Chemotherapy 1/15/2014 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Chemotherapy 2/10/2014 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 3/31/2014 Breast Hormonal Therapy 5/22/2014
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Jul 16, 2020 02:59PM justme1964 wrote:

thanks ladies, I enjoy my wine, just keep it within the range my doctor told me. Right now, I am not drinking during the week and if I want something I wait for the weekend but only buy 1 small bottle of wine so no leftovers for the week...

Trying not to over think, but say I do exactly what the doc says, limited my alcohol, but no word about my weight, yeah need to lose about 50lbs, so lose weight, eat healthier, who says that it won't come back.. that is where I will kick my self in the butt.

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Jul 16, 2020 09:01PM MinusTwo wrote:

The new recommendations are ONE drink a day. And it specifically says you can't save that up and have no drinks on day one and two drinks on day two. So saving up for the weekend doesn't confirm to the new advice. Note: this is the general advice about alcohol having nothing to do with BC patients.

That said - I believe in moderation. If I choose to have two glasses of wine on Wednesday, nothing Thursday and a gin & tonic on Friday - well.... that's my choice.


2/15/11 BMX-DCIS 2SNB clear-TEs; 9/15/11-410gummies; 3/20/13 recurrance-5.5cm,mets to lymphs, Stage IIIB IDC ER/PRneg,HER2+; TCH/Perjeta/Neulasta x6; ALND 9/24/13 1/18 nodes 4.5cm; AC chemo 10/30/13 x3; herceptin again; Rads Feb2014
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Jul 17, 2020 05:03AM Rah2464 wrote:

My Oncologist was very direct in her assessment of alcohol risk and estrogen positive cancer. She wanted no more than 2-3 drinks a month. So I have followed that, I rarely drink anything. However life is short and you have to have some enjoyment in moderation so I am gradually going back to drinking a little more wine and the occasional bourbon (I am a Kentucky girl after all). I just make sure that my "glass" of wine is quite small and I enjoy it slowly. Works for me.

Dx 5/23/2018, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 6/26/2018 Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Hormonal Therapy 7/26/2018 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Jul 17, 2020 08:11AM justme1964 wrote:

so I guess I am doing well by just having my wine on weekends.. not a huge bottle but 3-4 for the entire weekend and not in one day. Now I more confused

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Jul 17, 2020 08:30AM SummerAngel wrote:

My oncologist said it's fine with him if I want a glass of wine or beer with dinner every day, so it just shows that opinions differ. I tend to drink wine or beer on Friday for dinner and then Sunday as well. I occasionally have something on Tuesdays, too. The fact is that alcohol increases risk, but so do many other things. It's just one of them. My cancer may have been "encouraged" by alcohol, but I also had family history, early period onset, and very dense breasts, which are other risk factors. I didn't have any behavioral risk factors other than moderate alcohol consumption, so I don't beat myself up.

Age at dx: 45. Oncotype, left-side tumor: 9. Right side had multifocal IDC and "extensive" LCIS. Isolated tumor cells in 1 right-side node. Dx 3/27/2015, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 1, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Dx 4/27/2015, IDC, Right, 1cm, Grade 1, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 6/1/2015 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left, Right Surgery 6/1/2015 Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Surgery 8/28/2015 Reconstruction (left): Fat grafting, Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting, Silicone implant Surgery 12/4/2015 Reconstruction (left): Fat grafting, Nipple reconstruction; Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting, Nipple reconstruction
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Jul 17, 2020 08:45AM - edited Jul 17, 2020 08:47AM by ctmbsikia

I said to my BS that I will not live in a world without wine. I consume more the daily recommended allowance. I think cancer (all types) is a crap shoot. Should I get a 2nd primary or a recurrence do you really think they will be able to definitely say it's because I drank too much? NO.

Quit worrying so much, go live your life.

Dx 12/14/2017, DCIS/IDC, Left, 4cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 1/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 1/16/2018, LCIS, Right Surgery 1/31/2018 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Radiation Therapy 4/11/2018 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy 6/25/2018 Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Jul 17, 2020 09:27AM Beesie wrote:

When I asked my oncologist, "what about wine?", he replied "I like it".

He then proceeded to say that for overall health (not just breast cancer risk), his advice is 2-3 drinks per week for women, and 4-5 drinks per week for men (my husband was sitting next to me when I asked the question).

The simple fact is that the research on alcohol consumption and breast cancer recurrence/risk is all over the map. Clearly, heavy alcohol consumption is not good for us both from the standpoint of breast cancer risk and our overall health. A few studies suggest that even consuming in moderation may increase breast cancer risk but I believe the majority of studies conclude that low or moderate consumption is fine, in that it presents very little breast cancer risk (particularly related to recurrence, according to some studies) and may provide other health benefits. The question is "What is moderate consumption of alcohol?" That's where most of our MO's, those who are okay with some alcohol consumption, seem to differ.

I used to have 1-2 glasses of wine with dinner every night. More to keep my weight under control that for anything else, I've cut back. Now I have wine with dinner on the evenings when I really feel like having a glass of wine - when we are having a nicer than usual meal or when it's been a crappy day and I want to relax over dinner. So I don't feel like I'm depriving myself because I have wine whenever I feel like having wine, I simply no longer have it with every dinner out of habit. Sometimes it's one glass, sometimes I top it off and it's 1 1/2 or 2 glasses.

My advice is to find the amount of consumption that you are happy with and then enjoy it. Don't stress over it. The stress is probably worse for your health than any 'extra' alcohol that you might be consuming over the recommended amount (which no one agrees on anyway).

“No power so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.” Edmund Burke

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