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Light Drinking May Boost Breast Cancer Survival

A study finds that those who drink with a breast cancer diagnosis may live longer.

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By Valerie Tejeda

04/12/13

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Booze and breast cancer may not be such a lethal combination, a new study finds. Past studies have suggested that drinking can boost the risk of developing breast cancer. But new research, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, suggests that drinking moderately before or after diagnosis does not create an added health risk, and may even have some cardiovascular benefits. “Moderate alcohol consumption before or after breast cancer diagnosis is not associated with an increased risk of death from breast cancer,” says Polly A. Newcomb, lead author and researcher at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. Researchers studied alcohol intake before and after diagnosis for 4,881 women with breast cancer. They found that survival was similar for women who drank after diagnosis compared to those who abstained. The also found that those who drank moderately before getting cancer, had a lower risk of dying from breast cancer or cardiovascular disease. According to the authors, cardiovascular disease is becoming more common among breast cancer survivors. Though the results are good news for moderate drinkers, the authors note that this study is observational, and other factors—such as healthy lifestyle—may impact the results.

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