It seems that both red and white wine are "equal offenders" when it comes to increasing the risk of breast cancer, according to a study published today.
"We were interested in teasing out red wine's effects on breast cancer risk. There is reason to suspect that red wine might have beneficial effects based on previous studies of heart disease and prostate cancer," Dr. Polly Newcomb, of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, noted in a hospital statement.
"The general evidence is that alcohol consumption overall increases breast cancer risk, but the other studies made us wonder whether red wine might in fact have some positive value," she explained.
However, in their analysis, Newcomb's team found no difference between red or white wine in relation to breast cancer risk. "Neither appears to have any benefits," she said.
Among a large group of women with and without breast cancer, Newcomb and colleagues found that women who drank 14 or more alcoholic drinks per week — regardless of whether they drank red or white wine, liquor or beer — faced a 24 percent increase in breast cancer compared with non-drinkers.
"If a woman drinks," Newcomb told Reuters Health, "she should do so in moderation — no more than one drink per day. And if a woman chooses red wine, she should do so because she favors the taste, not because it may reduce her risk of breast cancer."
The findings are based on 6,327 women with breast cancer and 7,558 women matched for age who provided information about their drinking habits and other risk factors for breast cancer. The women, who were between 20 and 69 years old, were from Wisconsin, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
The frequency of alcohol consumption was similar in both groups, and equal proportions of women in both groups reported consuming red wine and white wine.