Q: Is one drink a day okay if I have a family history of breast cancer?
— Marcia Jackson, Philadelphia

A: How's your heart health? While alcohol has been shown to increase the risk of breast cancer, it can also lower the risk of heart disease. Each year far more American women die of heart disease than die of breast cancer; thus, for the average person, the benefits of alcohol outweigh the risks. But if you've inherited a harmful BRCA gene mutation, your risk of breast cancer is dramatically higher than that of the average woman. For a known carrier, drinking any alcohol is probably a bad idea. For others, the odds still favor having the occasional glass of wine.

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