So often, reports about consuming alcohol are negative, but in the case of breast cancer survivors, the news actually looks promising. A recent study that followed patients for 11 years found that those who consumed a few drinks a week before their cancer diagnosis were slightly less likely to die from the disease than their counterparts who did not.
The study also found that moderate drinking, both before and after a breast cancer diagnosis was linked to better overall health and even fewer deaths from both cancer and non-cancer causes. The study results suggest that it is actually safe to have a drink a couple of times a week, which goes with previous research that shows that drinking a glass of wine every couple of days or so is actually good for people.
According to Dr. Pamela Goodwin, of Mount Sinai hospital in Toronto, the study suggests that it is likely safe if women want to have the occasional drink, but the researchers are not suggesting that women who do not drink start drinking for better health.
The study, which questioned 23,000 breast cancer patients about their diet, drinking, and exercise habits in 2006, and surveyed about 5,000 of those patients again a few years later, found that of the women surveyed, the ones that reported that they drank three to six alcoholic beverages per week were about 15 percent less likely to die from their breast cancer diagnosis over the years following a diagnosis.
This information contradicts the study published in 2011 that links drinking to breast cancer to begin with, and there is no link between heavier drinking and moderate drinking, and survival rates.
Some suggest that women that drink moderately tend to have a healthier overall lifestyle than those that do not drink at all, or those who are heavier drinkers. Also, it is thought that since alcohol predisposes women to a different, less dangerous cancer than the type that those who do not drink tend to get, this might be the reason behind the increased survival rates.
The study found that drinking moderately did not decrease the chances of being diagnosed with breast cancer, but it did increase overall health among those that were surveyed. For instance, women that consumed about 10 drinks a week were as much as 36 percent less likely than their non-drinking counterparts to die of any cause, and as much as 50 percent less likely than non-drinkers to die of heart disease.
If the study shows anything, it shows that moderate drinking, combined with a healthy, active lifestyle, is most likely not harmful for most people. As the saying goes, “All things in moderation,” and the same may be true for general alcohol consumption in women.
In the end, it might simply be a matter of personal choice as most health care professionals will likely not recommend that women start drinking just as a way to fight off dying from breast cancer.