London: A glass of wine a day boosts the survival chances of women with breast cancer by up to a fifth, scientists have revealed.
Those who drink in moderation are more likely to recover from the illness than those who abstain, the Daily Mail reported.
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 percent more likely to survive than those who had nothing.
The odds increased to 20 percent if women drank 14 units a week.
“What our study says is that it is reasonable, if you’re diagnosed with breast cancer, to enjoy the occasional drink of alcohol,” Dr Paul Pharoah, of the university’s Department of Oncology, said.