Breast Cancer Research and Treatment

, Volume 139, Issue 1, pp 245–253

Alcohol intake over the life course and breast cancer survival in Western New York exposures and breast cancer (WEB) study: quantity and intensity of intake

  • Anne M. Weaver
  • Susan E. McCann
  • Jing Nie
  • Stephen B. Edge
  • Thomas H. Nochajski
  • Marcia Russell
  • Maurizio Trevisan
  • Jo L. Freudenheim


Alcohol intake is a risk factor for breast cancer, but the association between alcohol and mortality among breast cancer survivors is poorly understood. We examined the association between alcohol intake from all sources, assessed by cognitive lifetime drinking history, and all-cause and breast cancer mortality among women with breast cancer (N = 1,097) who participated in a population-based case–control study. Vital status was ascertained through 2006 using the National Death Index. Using Cox proportional hazards models, we computed hazard ratios for all-cause and breast cancer mortality in association with alcohol intake. We examined lifetime volume and intensity (drinks per drinking day) of alcohol consumption as well as drinking status during various life periods. Analyses were stratified by menopausal status. After adjustment for total intake, postmenopausal women with consumption of four or more drinks per drinking day over their lifetimes were nearly three times more likely to die from any cause compared to abstainers (HR 2.94, 95 % CI 1.31, 6.62). There was a similar but non-significant association with breast cancer mortality (HR 2.68, 95 % CI 0.94, 7.67). Postmenopausal women who drank one drink or fewer per drinking day between menarche and first birth had a significantly decreased hazard of all-cause (HR 0.54, 95 % CI 0.31, 0.95) and breast cancer mortality (HR 0.27, 95 % CI 0.09, 0.77). Premenopausal breast cancer survival was not associated with drinking intensity. We observed no associations between drinking status or total volume of alcohol intake and breast cancer or all-cause mortality. High-intensity alcohol consumption may be associated with decreased survival in postmenopausal women with breast cancer. Low-intensity alcohol consumption between menarche and first birth may be inversely associated with all-cause and breast cancer mortality; this period may be critical for development of and survival from breast cancer. Intensity of alcohol intake may be a more important factor than absolute volume of intake on survival in women with breast cancer.


Breast cancer Alcohol Survival Population-based study 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anne M. Weaver
    • 1
  • Susan E. McCann
    • 2
  • Jing Nie
    • 1
  • Stephen B. Edge
    • 3
  • Thomas H. Nochajski
    • 4
  • Marcia Russell
    • 5
  • Maurizio Trevisan
    • 1
    • 6
  • Jo L. Freudenheim
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, School of Public Health and Health ProfessionsUniversity at BuffaloBuffaloUSA
  2. 2.Department of Cancer Prevention and ControlRoswell Park Cancer InstituteBuffaloUSA
  3. 3.Department of Surgical OncologyRoswell Park Cancer InstituteBuffaloUSA
  4. 4.School of Social WorkUniversity at BuffaloBuffaloUSA
  5. 5.Prevention Research CenterBerkeleyUSA
  6. 6.The Sophie Davis School of Biomedical EducationCity College of New YorkNew YorkUSA

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