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RED WINE, TAKEN IN MODERATION, REDUCES RISK OF PROSTATE CANCER

Men who drink moderate amounts of red wine are only half as likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer as those who don’t drink it at all, according to a report in the June issue of Harvard Men’s Health Letter. What’s more, the beverage seems to be especially protective against the most advanced and aggressive cancers, lowering risk by about 60 percent. The key word here is “moderate,” meaning four to seven glasses a week. The Harvard report warns that if one glass a day is good, don’t assume that two glasses are twice as good. Three Harvard studies have also concluded that those who enjoy alcohol in the same modest amounts benefit from a lower risk of heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, enlarged prostate, and erectile dysfunction. Earlier research showed that alcohol consumption offered no protection against prostate cancer. But scientists at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle went a little further. They separated the effects of different types of alcoholic beverages on a sample of 1,456 men between 40 and 64 years old. They found that drinking 35 or more glasses of beer a week for eight years or longer actually increased risk of getting the cancer. White wine wasn’t much help. But those who averaged four to seven glasses of red a week were 52 percent less likely to get the disease than nondrinkers. It’s a happy conclusion for those who drink red wine in moderation, but no doctor is going to recommend that you start drinking alcohol to protect yourself from prostate cancer. The results come from only a single study; other research may contradict its conclusions as so often happens in medicine. That study, the Harvard publication puns, “is bound to mark an outpouring of new research.” Original text written by William J. Cromie Harvard News Office
Published on 06/24/2007
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