Poor media reporting insinuates “Red wine may reduce breast cancer risk in women”
A small, one-month-long, 36 women study was done by Chrisandra Shufelt, MD, assistant director of the Women’s Heart Center at the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute, and colleagues. The study was reported by the media in a way that suggested red wine somehow prevented cancer. The study did not find this. It found that red wine caused less body damage than white wine. It did not find a lower risk for breast cancer associated with drinking red wine. There was nothing proven at all but what did the headlines say in reporting this inconclusive research?
The Los Angeles Times headline was “Red wine prevents breast cancer? I’ll drink to that”.
The KPCC headline was “Drinking red wine may reduce breast cancer risk”.
The Medical Express headline was “Moderate drinking may help cut women’s breast cancer risk”.
The CBS New York headline was “New Study Shows Red Wine May Reduce Cancer Risk in Women”.
And the worst headline of all? The Boomer Health & Lifestyle headline of “Breast Cancer Risk Reduced by Drinking Red Wine”.
We know from long-term studies on millions of people – especially women – that all alcohol intake increases breast cancer risk. Even the World Health Organisation (WHO) lists alcohol as a ‘Class One Carcinogen’. So how can they get away with this kind of reporting? This is disgraceful and makes you very suspicious of who is behind the pushing of this kind of headline. Who will benefit from people skimming a headline that says “Red wine lowers breast cancer”? Alcohol companies perhaps?
Will people actually read the article and then discover that what the study found was nothing of the sort? Will people understand that nowhere was there solid evidence that “red wine lowers breast cancer risk?” Will they understand that the tiny, unproven, statistically unreliable, one-month study on only 36 women was not conclusive in any way at all?
Will they then consider the ‘Million Women Study’ (done on 1.2 million women over many years) found conclusively and I quote, that “No amount of alcohol is safe for cancer risk”? Or will they read the KPCC sound bite that said “Red wine now has another potential health benefit: preventing breast cancer”? And will they read The Boomer Health & Lifestyle article that said “Alcohol consumption is usually linked with higher breast cancer risk, but new research suggests that drinking red wine actually has the opposite effect”?
Headlines create perceptions
Most of us now are time-poor. We read so much less and we do not investigate the detail in articles or the research and studies they cite. There is, sadly, a huge opportunity for misrepresentation of the truth (or a very biased fabrication of the facts, as in this case). If you actually read the study and the comments then nothing showed that red wine decreases breast cancer risk. Nothing. The headlines run by various news outlets across the world tried to twist this small non-conclusive study into some pro-alcohol propaganda.
Breast cancer is growing as alcohol sales grow
It is tragic that many women will read this headline and then subconsciously have it as an excuse to either continue to drink or to drink even more. If you delved into the article then there were even statements buried away in the fine print saying “It’s not the alcohol in red wine that appears to conjure such magic. It’s the phytochemicals, which also are found in grapes, grape juice and grape seed extract”. But that did not lead to “Fruits and vegetables lower breast cancer risk” headlines all over the world did it?
The more you drink, the higher your risk for breast cancer
The research linking alcohol intake and breast cancer risk is global, comprehensive, independently validated, peer-reviewed, and has a scientific consensus around it. If you are concerned about breast cancer risk for yourself, then the safest relationship you can have with alcohol, is to not drink at all. The references below cover nearly two million women studied in countries all over the world, for a period of more than 30 years. They all confirm the same thing: all types of alcohol cause cancer.
Jason wishes to deeply thank, acknowledge and recognise the effort and contribution that the PIF Foundation has provided on a voluntary basis since 2014, as we educated, motivated and inspired change that helps transform the health, vitality and longevity of people all over the world.