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March 09, 2009

Just One Glass Too Many

Drink up and listen up. Maybe you've heard that drinking just one glass of wine a day significantly increases the incidence of cancers in women, especially breast cancer.

In fact, they discovered that one alcoholic drink per day (including wine) caused 15 extra cases of cancer per 1,000 women up to the age of 75. Does that suck or what?

Now, normally I can hear these things and just ignore them or think, well, the size of the sample wasn't really large enough but in this case the sample was 1 million women. It's kind of hard to dispute that the sample size wasn't large enough.

When I heard that I thought to myself what am I going to do with that information? Am I going to do what seems to make sense and give up drinking wine or am I going to ignore it and continue to have fairly regular glasses of wine even though I already have an increased risk given that I has a sister who died of breast cancer when she was only 43 years old?

I joked to a friend about perhaps having a double mastectomy as a preventative measure because Hey, I think I could live without my boobs, (which I actually find kind of annoying given that they've increased in size over the years) but I'm not sure I can live without my regular glass of wine.

I thought, I'm screwed. I've already had so many glasses of wine (and beer) to this point in my life that will giving it up now really have a positive impact or is it too late anyway?

I felt a little pissed off. Why is it always about women? I mean, I began to wonder if drinking beer increased the risk of prostate cancer or whether they just hadn't done a study of a million men because there's no way that any of the beer companies would let them publish those same kind of results.

I wondered if there was something else that could have attributed to the increased risk in this study for these 1 million women. Maybe they all eat more than 1 bucket of Kentucky Fried chicken a year or they all had been divorced once and it was actually the stress of that that had led to their increased risk. How do these investigators control all the potential variables that could in fact contribute to the outcomes?

I mean why don't I just run away and join the convent now? Do you want me to give up chocolate too? What the hell would I have to live for? Why do they have to do these studies to tell us these things? Afterall, we're all going to die! If I give up wine but I'm in a plane crash, I'd really regret that I didn't have that last glass of Shiraz afterall. I would. Honestly. I wouldn't go, oh well, I'm about to dive into the ocean from 48,000 ft but at least I'm not going to die of breast cancer from drinking too much wine.

At this point, for me, the study has pretty much done what it set out to do anyway because now, every time I pour myself a nice glass of wine, instead of anticipation, I'll be feeling an annoying bit of trepidation; a bit like playing a game of chicken with the Malbec.

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