Yesterday I blogged/whined about the latest study on breast cancer risk and alcohol consumption and the point that moderate drinking helps prevent heart disease. This of course leads to confusion and rebellion by women with breast cancer. 'Damn it we had cancer, don't take away our wine.'
But a friend, who has a doctorate and works in public health made the point that:
'You are more likely to die of heart disease if you don't drink a few drinks a week - and heart disease is far more prevalent.'
This reminds me we need to keep all these studies (a/k/a attempts to confuse the patients) into perspective. When we hear about these studies, we need to ask a few key questions:
- How many people were involved in this study and over how long a period were they followed?
- How prevalent are the ailments being discussed?
- What is your actual risk of getting the ailment in the first place?
So if the study was done on ten mice and they were followed for one year, how much significance would you give it?
And in this case, heart disease is the number one killer in the US. Breast cancer, while not a minor ailment, is much lower on the list.
Also, there is only so many things I can do/eat/drink/not do/not eat/not drink and retain my sanity. In this case, my perspective is that heart disease is more prevalent and I am opting for the heart disease side of the study. This means I'll drink.
Finally, all these studies tell me that there is so much that is not known about cancer and its causes as they keep coming up with conflicting results.