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Alcohol Is A Major Risk Factor For Breast Cancer. Why Don't More Women Know?

A woman participates in a wine tasting in California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
A woman participates in a wine tasting in California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

In 1988, alcohol was declared a class 1 carcinogen by the World Health Organization. The National Cancer Institute says alcohol raises breast cancer risk even at low levels of drinking. And in the United States, an estimated 15 percent of breast cancer cases are related to alcohol.

Public health officials in some countries, including England and Australia, have launched ad campaigns warning of alcohol’s links to cancer. One ad, aired in western Australia in 2010, features a glass of red wine spilling on a white table cloth:

[Youtube]

Mother Jones investigative reporter Stephanie Mencimer (@smencimer) discovered all this after she was diagnosed with breast cancer, and decided to dig into the causes of the illness. While she says she’ll never know what caused her cancer, she tells Here & Now‘s Robin Young that women need this information in order to make decisions about their health.

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