Monday, July 18, 2011

Just two glasses of wine a day raise a woman's risk of death if she has breast cancer

The usual epidemiological nonsense. They don't look at WHY some women drink more. Could it be that they are working class? If so that could explain the results -- as working class women have worse health anyway

Just a couple of alcoholic drinks a day could dramatically reduce a woman’s chance of survival if she develops breast cancer, a study reveals.

Women who drank as little as two small glasses of wine on a daily basis were more likely to die from the disease if they later developed it than those who drank less, the research suggests.

Though previous studies have shown alcohol consumption increases the risk of contracting breast cancer, this is believed to be the first to show it also raises the risk of a woman dying from it once she has.

Researchers from the National Cancer Institute in Milan studied 264 women who were diagnosed with breast cancer between 1987 and 2001. They had also taken part in lifestyle studies that gathered information on their alcohol consumption before diagnosis. They were divided up according to whether they drank nothing at all, ‘moderate’ amounts of up to 13 grams of alcohol a day, or ‘high’ amounts of 13 grams plus.

A typical 125ml glass of wine contains between eight and 12 grams of alcohol while a pint of strong lager contains nearly 24 grams.

Researchers then matched up the results with data showing how many women had died in the ten years after being diagnosed with the disease, using this information to calculate relative survival rates. Among non-drinkers, the relative survival rate was 88 per cent, and 89 per cent for moderate drinkers.

But the rate for women who drank 13 grams or more on a daily basis was 65 per cent – meaning they were significantly less likely to survive in the ten years after diagnosis.

In a report on their findings, published in the Italian journal Tumori, the researchers said: ‘The finding[s]...lend some support to the evidence that alcohol may influence cancer progression and survival.’ However, they admitted one flaw in the study was a lack of information on how much alcohol the women drank after being diagnosed.

Last night, experts said the research adds to evidence connecting alcohol with the disease. Henry Scowcroft, Cancer Research UK’s science information manager, said: ‘There’s now a large body of evidence linking increasing alcohol consumption to breast cancer. The more a woman drinks, the higher her risk. ‘This small study adds another piece to this bigger picture. It suggests that women who drink more, and who go on to develop breast cancer, might have worse outcomes.’

Carolyn Rogers, a clinical nurse specialist for Breast Cancer Care, said the link was well established. She added: ‘It has also been suggested that regularly consuming more than the recommended amount of alcohol may increase the risk of breast cancer recurring in those already diagnosed.’

But Dr Susie Jennings of Breakthrough Breast Cancer warned: ‘Not all research in this field is consistent so we still can’t be sure of the effect of drinking alcohol on breast cancer survival.’

A previous study of 1.3million women across the UK by Oxford University found their chances of getting breast cancer rose by 7 per cent for every unit of alcohol they drank a day. A typical 125ml glass of white wine is equal to 1.5 units.


Food rebellion! Campbell's to add salt back into Select Harvest soups: "Health" doesn't sell

Reducing salt may be healthy for consumers, but it doesn't seem to be going down well for business. At an investor meeting on Tuesday, Campbell Soup Co.'s incoming chief executive, Denise Morrison, announced an about-face: The company, which won kudos from health advocates for lowering sodium in its soups a few years back, will be adding salt back into its 31 Select Harvest soups in an effort to improve the way they taste.

The soups, which are marketed as a more natural option made with "real ingredients," initially had about 700 to 800 milligrams of sodium in a serving, Reuters reported. Company executives -- led by Morrison, who used to head the company's North American soup, sauces and beverages business -- had reduced salt levels to about 480 mg. Now those levels will shoot back up to 650 mg per serving. (Healthy Request soups will not get a salt boost.)

Eating too much salt has been widely associated with increased cases of high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes, though recently some researchers have raised questions about sodium's negative health effects (see related stories, to left). The FDA recommends no more than 2,300 mg of salt per day. A 2010 report from the Institute of Medicine noted that most Americans get about 3,400 mg each day. The biggest culprits? Restaurant food and packaged foods, such as canned soups.

Health advocates expressed dismay at Campbell's move. In a statement released Wednesday, Michael F. Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, asked, "Why resort to salt? Why not improve tomato soup [flavor] with more and better-quality tomatoes, or chicken noodle soup with more chicken?"

But Wall Street licked its lips. Campbell's soup sales have been weak, and the company faces a lawsuit over its soups' lower-sodium labeling, which some consumers have complained is misleading. But after the Tuesday announcement of the salt strategy and other product initiatives focused on improving taste, the company's stock price went up 1.3%.


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