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Posted: Monday, March 2, 2009 12:00 am

Alarms sounded in the http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/besttreatments/2009/feb/24/even-moderate-drinking-affects-womens-cancer-risk" target="_blank">mainstream press last week after http://jnci.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/djn514" target="_blank">a new paper was published suggesting that chances of developing breast cancer may increase with moderate drinking.

The paper, based on a “http://www.millionwomenstudy.org/" target="_blank">Million Women Study” in the United Kingdom, found that women over 50 years young having a drink a day increased their chance of breast cancer 1.1 percent compared with women having one or two drinks a week.

Wine industry watcher http://wineindustryinsight.com/?p=1204" target="_blank">Lewis Perdue quickly raised questions, particularly regarding the researchers’ decision to throw out results from non-drinkers, assuming they were of “ill health.” Could it be that including this group would have lead to a smaller observed increase in cancer?

In any case, I think it’s fair to consider this quote in the http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/02/24/women.cancer.drinking/index.html" target="_blank">CNN article from Dr. Gregg C. Fonarow, codirector of the UCLA Preventative Cardiology Program:

"Individuals that chose to drink should do so in moderation and because they like to, rather than expecting a health benefit."

The current recommendation from The American Cancer Society and the http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4422" target="_blank">American Heart Association for those already drinking wine is one 4 ounce glass per day for women and two glasses for men. That roughly translates into splitting a half bottle each day for the average couple.