Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Could a glass of wine help a woman beat breast cancer? Drink could help survival chances increase by a fifth

The alcohol merrygoround again.  Moderate drinkers were probably mainly middle class  -- thus accounting for the effects observed

A glass of wine a day boosts the survival chances of women with breast cancer by up to a fifth, scientists have found.  Those who drink in moderation are more likely to recover from the illness than those who abstain.

But the findings are somewhat unexpected because drinking alcohol is considered to be one of the leading causes of breast cancer among healthy women.

One explanation is that the chemicals in alcohol which damage healthy cells also have the same effect on cancerous cells.

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. Many women with cancer stop drinking in the hope it will boost the success of their treatment.

Researchers from the University of Cambridge looked at 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.  Women who drank seven units a week – three and a half small glasses of wine – were 10 per cent more likely to survive than those who had nothing.

The odds increased to 20 per cent if women drank 14 units a week. Dr Paul Pharoah, of the university’s Department of Oncology, said: ‘What our study says is that it is reasonable, if you’re diagnosed with breast cancer, to enjoy the occasional drink of alcohol.’

Although drinking alcohol seems to make a big difference to women’s survival odds, the scientists pointed out that the overall change was small.

This was because there were 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.

Experts commenting on the study also pointed out that alcohol was only beneficial once a woman had been diagnosed with breast cancer.


Australia: Food Fascists still bleating

No correlation between health and advertising restrictions has ever been shown but it seems to give these do-gooders a high to propose restrictions on what people do and see

A group of leading public health agencies says current measures to restrict junk food marketing to children have failed and tougher restrictions are needed.

The Obesity Policy Coalition has sent a report to state and federal health ministers, calling on them to forcibly restrict junk food ads targeting children.

The coalition's executive manager, Jane Martin, says there is a clear conflict of interest because the code is regulated by the food industry.  She says the Government's own research backs the coalition's findings that there has been no reduction in advertising exposure to children.

"The reason this is so important is because children's diets are incredibly bad," she said.  "They're eating more and more unhealthy food.

"This food is cheap, heavily promoted, easily available and so we need to look at all the levers we can push, and we know that as part of a comprehensive approach, controls on marketing are absolutely critical."

Ms Martin says something must be done to curb the record levels of childhood obesity.

She says regulating junk food advertising is not the only way to tackle bad eating habits but it is an important factor.  "It's part of a comprehensive approach," she said.  "It has reduced exposure of children to some extent and we know it's a key driver. So it's very important that we address all the drivers of overweight and obesity."

She said parents also need to be conscious of the food their children eat and resist pressure to buy junk food.  "I think parents want the Government to step in now and support them," Ms Martin said.

"Government has been pushing this issue around since the preventative health task force recommended they do something and look to moving beyond self-regulation, if it doesn't work.  "I think we've shown that it's not working.  [Show something that does work!]


1 comment:

Wireless.Phil said...

Wine cutting breast cancer, I have my doubts.
A former girlfriend only drank red wine, then her breast started to ooze.
The Doc told her to switch to white wine.