Wine shields against cancer

A new Yale study shows wine drinkers suffering from Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma are much less likely to die or relapse than their teetotaller counterparts.

Presenting their findings this week at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, the researchers studied more than 500 women suffering from cancer of the lymphatic system for eight to twelve years and found that wine definitely had a protective effect according to Xuesong Han, a doctoral candidate in cancer epidemiology.

The study found that women who drank the longest had the lowest chances of suffering a relapse or dying within five years of their diagnosis.

Of the women who drank at least twelve glasses of wine over their lifetime, roughly three-quarters were alive five years after their diagnosis, compared to two-thirds of those who never sullied their lips with wine.

Thirty percent of wine drinkers relapsed within five years compared to thirty five percent of teetotallers.

Those who had been imbibing for at least 25 years prior to diagnosis were 33% less likely to die within five years, and 26% less likely to develop secondary cancer or relapse.

Women who drank more than six glasses of wine a day and had the most common type of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma - diffuse large B-cell – are about 60% less likely to die or relapse within five years.

Liquor and beer showed no lymphoma protecting effects.

So for most women a few glasses of wine a week are likely to help protect against the cancer says Yawei Zhang, PhD, while women with a family history or other risk factors for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, such as impaired immune systems, are likely to benefit even more.

"But if you have risk factors for breast cancer, you should avoid wine. Studies have linked any type of alcohol to poor outcomes," Dr Zhang said to WebMD.

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