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Written by Reuters   

Patients Undergoing Radiation Treatment for Breast Cancer
See Benefits from Moderate Wine Drinking

radiation_smallReuters (27 July 2009) — A clinical study by an oncology center in South Italy has discovered that women who drink wine moderately while undergoing radiation treatment for breast cancer benefit from it and have fewer side effects than women who don't drink.

The study said polyphenols found in wine may help protect healthy tissues from the effects of radiation while combating cancerous cells.

The Radiotherapy and Palliative Care Unit, along with the research department at the Catholic University of Campobasso in Molise region, examined the extent of tissue damage on 348 women who were being treated for breast cancer between February 2003 and June 2007 at the clinic.

The level of tissue damage from the radiation was measured by taking skin samples. Deep tissue samples were not examined. Alessio Morganti, lead author and director of the radiotherapy unit, says this is likely to be included in future study.

The researchers compared the extent of damage in the skin tissue to the drinking habits of women in an attempt to assess any relationship. A total of 103 participants were wine drinkers. 22 drank half a glass, 59 drank one glass, 20 participants drank two glasses and 2 women drank three or more per day.

The scientists found that women who drank one glass a day had the least amount of skin toxicity, with 15 percent tissue damage, compared to 40 percent in the control group, 30 percent among the half a drank per day group and 32 percent for women who drank two glasses daily.

The conclusion of the analysis of the data was that "the moderate daily consumption of wine is associated with 75 percent skin lesion reduction compared to teetotalers," said Morganti.

The head of research, Giovanni de Gaetano, stressed in a statement however, that "In the case of women undergoing breast cancer radiotherapy, we're talking of one glass of wine a day, thus a very low dose, consistent with Mediterranean habits,"

The findings are slated for publication in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology according to the report in Wine Spectator.

The potential protective effect of moderate alcohol consumption against the incidence of breast cancer is a topic of great debate in the medical community. Recent studies point to even low amounts of alcohol as a risk factor for the disease. Other studies show that resveratrol found in red wines may actually aid the chemotherapy process and may protect the skin from damage from ultraviolet radiation. v

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dvds on wine