Can Wine Help Women Fighting Breast Cancer?

woman glass of wineResearchers must have a love-hate relationship with booze, I swear! One minute, moderate drinking, particularly of (red) wine, is okay -- good for us even! The next, it's going to lead to DEATH. The latest study out of the National Cancer Institute in Milan looked at data from 264 women who were diagnosed with breast cancer between 1987 and 2001. Among women who didn't drink, the survival rate was 88 percent, and for light drinkers (those who consumed up to 13 grams of alcohol a day), 89 percent. But "heavier" drinking women, who drank up to two glasses of wine a day, came in at 65 percent. In other words, they were significantly less likely to survive in the 10 years post-diagnosis.

Ay yi yi! It's enough to make you want to ditch a daily dose of vino for good ... maybe. See, the thing is, there are a couple of big ol' flaws with this study. For one, the researchers didn't look at data showing how much the patients drank after they were diagnosed.

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Plus, this was just an observational/retrospective study, not a clinical trial, so researchers can only prove a link here ... not a definitive "cause-effect" situation. 

That said, there is quite the body of evidence against drinking once you've already been diagnosed with breast cancer. Take this study from 2009, for instance, which showed that breast cancer survivors who have just a few alcoholic drinks per week are more likely than women who drink little or no alcohol to see their breast cancer return. Eek! Perhaps it's true that more research points to sobriety, or at least minimal drinking, being advised for who've battled or are battling the disease. Ah, well -- I've always thought that healing green juice actually looks pretty and appetizing in a wine glass, too!

What do you think -- should alcohol be avoided if you've been diagnosed with cancer?


Image via Rolands Lakis/Flickr

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