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article imageOp-Ed: Drinking can increase the survival rate of breast cancer

By Jonathan Lam     Apr 13, 2013 in Science
Alcohol is thought of to be a harmful substance to both men and women. However, new studies show that women who drink alcohol moderately may in fact increase breast cancer survival rates.
The study published by The Journal of Clinical Oncology on April 8 claimed that alcohol consumption at a moderate rate may in fact increase the survival rate of breast cancer.
Alcohol does affect women differently than men. Women become more intoxicated than men after drinking the same amount of alcohol because they have less water in their bodies. By having less water in the body compared to men, the alcohol in women becomes more concentrated. Hence the reason if a man and woman drink the same amount of alcohol, then woman would most likely become more intoxicated. Also, chronic alcohol abuse can result in many medical problems such as brain and liver damage.
In addition, Mayo Clinic suggest many ways that women can avoid being diagnosed with breast cancer. Controlling their weight, becoming physically active, and not smoking are just a few suggestions Mayo Clinic provides. But one of their top suggestions quotes "Limit alcohol. The more alcohol you drink, the greater your risk of developing breast cancer. If you choose to drink alcohol — including beer, wine or liquor — limit yourself to no more than one drink a day."
Note that they say limit yourself to no more than one drink a day. A study from a cancer prevention program at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle begs to differ. This study was headed by Polly Newcomb.
The Journal of Clinical Oncology published Polly Newcombs findings on April 8. Newcomb evaluated women participating a study of risk factors for breast cancer sponsored by the U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI).During the follow-up period, 7,780 deaths occurred, including nearly 3,500 from breast cancer. Newcomb looked at deaths and alcohol habits. Newcomb finalized the results and claimed that women who had three to six drinks a week -- considered moderate drinking -- before diagnosis had about a 15 percent lower risk of death from breast cancer than nondrinkers.
Alcohol intake is thought to raise the risk of getting breast cancer due to increases in estrogen production, Newcomb said. It could be the type of breast cancer most likely to be found among women who drink may simply be more responsive to therapies that reduce estrogen.
So it is fine to have a few drinks after breast cancer treatment. In fact, having that little drink of alcohol might in fact save a person's life.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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