Alcohol and Cancer — The Evidence
(And What about Red Wine?)
August 26th, 2012 by Holly Cornish
As you probably know, many people are concerned that excessive alcohol use can cause liver damage… kidney problems… raise your blood pressure and create other serious health concerns. But how about cancer? Let’s look at the evidence. . .
Continued below. . .
Breast Cancer Survivor was told:
“You’ll be dead in a year” (Pssst!! That was 12 years ago!)
Doctors didn’t give Wiltrude much hope when they diagnosed her with cancer in the year 2000. Wiltrude, a German psychologist, never thought cancer would happen to her. But it did. And it came as a big shock.
One doctor told her, “You’ll be dead in a year.” Late stage breast cancer is virtually incurable using conventional treatments. Even M.D.s admit it. They talk about “buying you more time.” (Don’t count on it. The evidence shows you’re better off doing nothing than chemo.)
When Wiltrude told her doctor she was going to try alternative treatments, he said, “You are committing suicide with what you’re doing.” But she was determined to find a way to beat her cancer.
Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, this European woman came across a book by my good friend Bill Henderson, one of the smartest and wisest people I know when it comes to cancer treatment.
She tried Bill’s top, number one recommendation — a gentle treatment you can do at home for just $5.15 a day. What’s more, the cost goes down to $3.50 after six weeks because you just need a maintenance dose. And it even tastes good.
Not only has Wiltrude passed the five-year cancer survival mark, she’s survived for 12 years. We just interviewed her recently for this publication. The radiologist who tests her every year told her, “You’re the only one with this kind of result.”
You can find out about Bill’s proven cancer treatment plan in a free video presentation — click here to watch it now.
When I ask him about some of the treatments that top alternative doctors use, Bill sort of shrugs and says, “They’re fine, but why bother? My treatment works, you can do it yourself, and it costs practically nothing.”
He’s coached thousands of cancer patients with all different types and stages of cancer. Most of the people who follow the detailed, specific plan in this Special Report get over their cancer and live for years.
“Almost any kind of cancer is reversible,” says Bill. “I never give up on anyone.”
Some researchers say you may have to add an increased risk of cancer to the list of health problems related to alcohol. This is because a variety of clinical studies have reported outcomes like these:
- The International Journal of Cancer reported a total of 389,100 cases of cancer are attributable to alcohol drinking worldwide…
- A study published in Breast Cancer Research and Treatment found that drinking three or more alcoholic drinks per week after a breast cancer diagnosis may increase risk of breast cancer recurrence, especially in postmenopausal and overweight women…
- The journal Nutrition and Cancer published study findings suggesting that drinking one or more alcoholic beverages a day raised the risk of developing colon cancer by 70 percent…
- A study reported in Internal Medicine showed alcohol intake was closely related to growth of liver cancer in patients with type C cirrhosis. (Of course, cirrhosis already indicates excessive drinking.)
After reading study results like these—it’s understandable why some folks are determined to swear off all forms of alcohol.
Others remain skeptical and want to know…
Exactly HOW can alcohol lead to cancer?
To tell you the truth… researchers aren’t clear on the relationship between alcohol consumption and cancer.
But the American Cancer Society offers these possible explanations:
- Causes weight gain—Excess alcohol provides extra calories—which can cause weight gain. Being overweight or obese increases the risk of developing various cancers.
- Damages body tissues—Alcohol may irritate and damage various body cells. As these cells attempt to repair themselves, it can change their DNA in ways that may be favorable to cancer growth.
- Lowers folate and other nutrient levels—Alcohol inhibits proper body absorption of folate — also called folic acid or vitamin B9. Researchers believe low folate may increase the risk of breast and colorectal cancers.
- Raises hormone levels—Alcohol may raise body levels of estrogen. Because this hormone plays a role in the growth and development of breast tissue, it may affect a woman’s breast cancer risk.
For these and other reasons, ACS recommends that people limit alcohol intake to two drinks per day for men. They reduce this recommendation to just ONE drink a day for women because their smaller bodies tend to metabolize alcohol more slowly. Frankly, a drink or two per day sounds like too much to me, especially given levels of obesity and diabetes in our society.
But there’s one form of alcohol that may have some benefits. . .
Why some researchers say
a little red wine may be fine!
The American Cancer Society admits that moderate alcohol use has been linked to lower risk of heart disease. And the ACS acknowledges that other research seems to indicate there are health BENEFITS to drinking certain types of alcohol. The obvious case — you probably know this — is red wine.
A recent study published in the Journal of Women’s Health said that drinking about two glasses of red wine daily lowered estrogen levels in premenopausal women—thereby LOWERING breast cancer risk.
This study showed that certain chemicals in red wine appear to block the process that converts androgens into estrogen. In essence, these compounds act as natural aromatase inhibitors (AIs).
Man-made, synthetic AIs are prescribed to women diagnosed with breast cancer to prevent it from returning. But not just any wine contains these natural cancer killers…
These chemicals are specifically found in grapes, grape juice and in RED wines. Studies show that white wines do not contain the same natural AI compounds. And perhaps most important, other types of alcohol — beer and spirits — have NOT shown these benefits.
Even with red wine the evidence for health benefits is contradictory. Is it a healthy food or a deadly danger? Hard to say for sure — but it doesn’t matter. Stay with me for a moment, because there’s an easy way to reap the benefits of red wine without the possible risks and the excess calories.
One red wine compound that has received quite a bit of attention is resveratrol. Why so?
In Issue #61, I showed how some researchers have uncovered what they consider to be amazing antioxidant potential in this grape nutrient.
Studies indicate resveratrol may help prevent cell damage that can lead to cancers of the brain, breast, eyes, prostate and skin.
But I’m still not ready to say that resveratrol is the last word in cancer prevention…
After all, many medical professionals are cautious about the positive effects seen in laboratory research.
And let’s not forget that resveratrol is just one of the red grape components that may have potential anti-cancer properties. It belongs to an entire class of antioxidants called polyphenols that work to enhance your overall health.
Many delicious foods contain these anti-cancer nutrients, such as blueberries, pomegranates, cranberries, and purple potatoes. The spice cumin also belongs to the polyphenol class.
And you might be surprised to know that tea and coffee are also rich sources of these antioxidants.
In short, there are a great many sources of these nutrients that carry a lot less risk than drinking red wine.
And if you’re interested in boosting your intake of resveratrol and other anti-cancer nutrients but you find it hard to eat certain foods… or prefer not to drink wine—don’t despair!
You can always take nutritional supplements that contain resveratrol and other polyphenols to help build a natural shield against cancer cell growth.
In any case, the natural plant compounds are sure to provide healthy total body protection—without any fear of headaches or hangovers!
Moving on to another subject, people who have been through cancer and survived often suffer from lingering psychological damage. But their needs mostly go unrecognized. Where can they go for help? Our last issue talked about that very subject. If you missed it, you can scroll down and read it now.
Don’t Just Survive Cancer —
Get Your Life Back!
Something you don’t hear much about is what happens to cancer survivors, post-treatment. Surviving is one thing — the first hurdle in a long road back to a normal life. Beyond that, a cancer survivor has to deal with the emotional fallout that comes from being diagnosed and going through a treatment ordeal, plus any other challenge that comes as a result of cancer.
Cancer survivors belong to a special club — a club none of us wants to join, but we don’t have a choice. This issue will deal with some things a cancer survivor can do to make life better…
Continued below. . .
This Cancer Cure Video Circled the Globe in 31 Minutes
Every 60 seconds someone dies from cancer — and every 3 minutes, someone new is diagnosed with cancer. That someone could even be you.
If you know anyone who’s suffering from cancer, you *must* watch this 5-minute video. This is the video that the pharmaceutical industry doesn’t want you to watch.
When this video was first put online, it was viewed by 129,000 people within 31 minutes. Send the link to everyone who has cancer. You might even end up saving someone’s life. Watch the video now here.
Healing is not just skin-deep…
Compare it to posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), where anxiety develops after a person is exposed to something psychologically traumatic. We usually think of PTSD in connection with military combat, but it can follow any frightening or damaging experience.
Just being diagnosed with a life-threatening illness is enough to trigger PTSD. Undergoing treatment and surviving the illness can actually make PTSD worse.
For a lot of cancer survivors — especially those who go the chemo route — figuring out how to survive life after cancer brings almost as many challenges as life with cancer. Especially for anyone who had body-altering surgery, or suffered a permanent handicap.
The real issue here is that cancer patients are inundated with support while they battle their disease. But if they conquer it, the support often vanishes. The expectation is they’ll return to the “real world.” But here’s the crux of it: Post-cancer, they’re part of a whole new world.
For starters, they’ll forever carry the label “cancer survivor” — a term that blends life and death together into one bundle. Depending on the effects of their specific type of cancer, they may face a variety of new health problems — everything from changes in memory and concentration, to persistent pain, to bladder or bowel control problems, to intimacy and sex issues.
Fortunately, there’s an ever-growing wealth of resources to help survivors. Do an online search for “life after cancer” and you’ll find thousands of links to post-cancer support groups and forums.
I did this and was struck by the results of a particular study. It’s called “Finding a New Normal:” Using Recreation Therapy to Improve the Well-Being of Women with Breast Cancer.
The study makes an important point, which is something we often talk about here at Cancer Defeated. That’s the fact that healing — whether it’s post-cancer, or whether you’re trying to prevent cancer in the first place — has to take place on both a physical and emotional level. When this happens, the results are astounding.
The mind-body healing connection (something we know well)
The study took place in 2009, when researchers Diane Groff and Claudio Battaglini and team looked at post-breast-cancer survival. They tracked six women who went through standard breast-cancer treatment, followed by something called HeartMath® treatment.
HeartMath® treatment is offered by the Institute of HeartMath, a nonprofit dedicated to helping folks lower stress and manage their emotions in a way that benefits their physical bodies. They help people “reconnect with their hearts” so they can de-stress and build resilience. One of the group’s major tenets is the power of emotions to increase energy and well-being.
On a practical level, this means taking the women who volunteered for the study I mentioned and putting them through a regimen of exercise and recreation therapy. This might be any combination of cardio and weight training, stretching, relaxation techniques, and group activities. A grant-funded program in North Carolina called “Get REAL & HEEL” is one of several programs that take HeartMath® techniques and translate them into practical application. That’s where the study participants went for their post-cancer treatment.
The results were profound. Not only were the women better able to cope with stress and other emotional challenges, but their immune function improved dramatically. The women also experienced mental and emotional improvement. Decision-making got easier, they felt more in control, and they were better able to cope with daily challenges.
It’s proof that recreational therapists can play a significant role in helping cancer survivors get their lives back.
If studies like these continue to prove the importance of addressing the mind and body challenges survivors have and the important role these therapists can play, there’s a good chance insurance companies will do a better job of accepting and funding interventions like this. Especially if it’s consistently proven that this kind of treatment boosts long-term survival rates.
For that matter, it’s also proof that daily exercise, paired with taking the time to appreciate what you have, will do you worlds of good — whether or not you follow a formal treatment program.
A useful resource for you
Really, this concept applies to anyone who’s faced a complex disease. Beyond curing the pathological side of the disease, there’s an entire social and emotional spectrum of healing to address.
Whether you’re a survivor or you know a survivor, I recommend reading this online booklet: Facing Forward: Life After Cancer Treatment. It’s a helpful guide from the National Cancer Institute for navigating life post-treatment.
Lee Euler, Publisher