Friday, September 28, 2007

Why the Madness Over New Breast Cancer & Alcohol Story?

Last night the NBC Nightly News, something strange happened: they led the broadcast with a health story. I watch the Nightly News a lot, and that’s very, very unusual. There’s a war in Iraq, soldiers killing pro-democracy demonstrators in Myanmar, and they lead with a report about the connection between alcohol and cancer.

The findings,
according to the Nightly News Report: one drink a day increases a woman’s risk for developing cancer by 10 percent. Three drinks increases the risk 30 percent. Does 10 drinks a day give you a 100 percent chance? They didn’t say.

But it’s not jus the NBC news that’s flipping over this story (yes, I consider leading the broadcast with a health, or science, story “flipping”). There are hundreds of results from the last 24 hours at Google News for “alcohol breast cancer,” with sensational headlines like, “
Any 3 alcohol drinks a day boost breast cancer risk by 30%.”

Anyhow, the Nightly News asks, “should women be concerned?” I don’t think so (but I’m not a doctor, so my opinion doesn’t count and nobody should listen to me). Who drinks a drink every single day? If you do, you probably have bigger problems. Yes, we’ve all heard the research that a drink a day decreases the risk of heart disease, but who really does this? Now, three drinks a day? Again, bigger problems, people.

The Nightly News also puts these findings in context by pointing out, “women who smoke a pack of cigarettes a day have about a 2000 per cent increase in their risk for lung cancer.”

Over at the Wired Science blog,
the latest post is, “Overreacting to Alchohol's Breast Cancer Risks.” In it, they point out that, “there's a world of difference between having a few to many drinks and having a few too many drinks every single day.”

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.