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Wine & Health: Wineglass a Day May Help Cure Breast Cancer

Posted: Wednesday, 14 November 2012 13:30

Wine & Health: Wineglass a Day May Help Cure Breast Cancer

November 14: A recent study has indicated that the survival chance of a woman with breast cancer may increase to 20% with one glass of wine a day but the Indian media has gone overboard in their headlines in the articles as if this is a curative medicine, possibly misrepresenting facts in their enthusiasm for reporting the study, opines Subhash Arora

Daily wine intake may cure breast cancer’, screams the article in Times of India based on the story in ANI. SimilarlyA glass of wine per day can cure breast cancer’ in the Hindustan Times, with essentially the same content gives the impression that women with breast cancer would do well to drink wine for its medicinal benefits. The study merely indicates that 7 units of alcohol, equivalent of half a glass of wine a day, increase the chance of curing the breast cancer by 10%. This increases to 20% when the quantity is doubled, i.e., one glass a day is consumed.

Those who drink in moderation are more likely to recover from the illness than those who abstain, would be the corollary of the findings. The Indian Express has been less dramatic and more realistic in portraying the gist of the study by claiming ‘Daily glass of wine can help beat breast cancer: study’

The foreign media is more pragmatic while singing praises for wine; in fact, alcohol in general has been named the benefactor in this study.  ‘Glass of wine a day increases odds of survival in breast cancer patients' is the gist of an article in Singapore-based online magazine Today Online.

Researchers from the University of Cambridge and the South Egypt Cancer Institute studied 13,525 women with breast cancer for an average of seven years, making it the largest study of its kind. They recorded the average weekly alcohol intake for each patient as well as their body mass index. They discovered that women who drank seven units a week were 10 percent more likely to survive than those who had no wine or alcoholic beverages. The chances improved to 20 percent when they drank 14 units a week.

 But the findings are rather unexpected because drinking alcohol has been considered to be one of the leading causes of breast cancer among healthy women. Drinking even one glass a day is considered  to increase the chance of getting breast cancer by 10%. According to Dr. Curt Ellison of Boston, who is involved in several wine and health studies for decades, this factor can be negated by taking folic acid in the form of non- prescription folate tablets available easily and inexpensively in the Indian market.

There are currently no specific guidelines for breast cancer patients on alcohol consumption, but healthy women are advised to drink no more than 14 units a week (a glass of 125 mL of wine at 12.5% alc).Many women with cancer stop drinking in the hope it will boost the success of their treatment.

"What our study says is that it is reasonable, if you're diagnosed with breast cancer, to enjoy the occasional drink of alcohol," Dr Paul Pharoah, of the university's Department of Oncology, reportedly said.

Although drinking alcohol seems to make a difference to women's survival chances, the scientists point out that the overall change was small. There are many other factors affecting the success of treatment including how early the illness was diagnosed, the woman's age and the particular type of breast cancer, report the researchers. While commenting on the study they also pointed out that alcohol was only beneficial once a woman had been diagnosed with breast cancer.


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