Milan: Experts have earlier warned that alcohol consumption increases the risk of contracting breast cancer. Now for the first time, a new study has shown that it also raises the risk of a woman dying from it once she has.
According to researchers from the National Cancer Institute in Milan, women who drank as little as two small glasses of wine on a daily basis were more likely to die from breast cancer if they later developed it than those who drank less.
A typical 125ml glass of wine contains between eight and 12 grams of alcohol while a pint of strong lager contains nearly 24 grams.
The researchers studied 264 women who were diagnosed with breast cancer between 1987 and 2001 and had also taken part in lifestyle studies that gathered information on their alcohol consumption before diagnosis.
The study participants 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.
The researchers then matched up the results with data showing how many women had died in the 10 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 10 years after diagnosis, reports the Daily Mail .
The finding[s]...lend some support to the evidence that alcohol may influence cancer progression and survival, said the researchers.
They, however, admitted one flaw in the study was a lack of information on how much alcohol the women drank after being diagnosed.
The findings are published in the Italian journal Tumori.