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It has long been noted that drinking large amounts of alcohol puts a woman at risk for receiving a positive lab test for breast cancer. However, researchers were not exactly sure why this association exists. Now, a team of Mexican researchers may have explained the problem.
The researchers, who hailed from the Autonomous University of Morelos, showed that a protein that is present in all breast cells breaks down alcohol. During this process, unstable molecules known as free radicals are produced. These molecules damage breast cells, causing the cells to start proliferation processes as a way to avoid tissue damage. Unfortunately, the rapid cell proliferation is a major cause of tumor growth.
Not all women are equally affected by this problem. The researchers found that some breast cells produce less of the protein that breaks down alcohol. These cells are more or less protected from the negative effects of alcohol consumption.
The researchers said they hope to develop a test that would tell women how much of the protein their breast cells produce. This could give individuals early warning that may enable them to avoid alcohol consumption entirely and significantly reduce their chances of developing breast cancer in the future.
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