WOMEN with breast cancer can boost their chances of surviving the disease by drinking a glass of wine a day, according to research.
Those who drink a medium-sized (175ml) glass a day cut their chance of dying within a decade of diagnosis by a fifth - from 20 to 16pc, say Cambridge University doctors.
Even drinking half that cut the chance to 18pc, they found.
Dr Paul Pharoah, from the university’s department of public health and primary care, told The Times that their findings suggested women should not deny themselves the odd drink.
He said: “What our study says is that it is reasonable, if you are diagnosed with breast cancer, to enjoy the occasional drink of alcohol.
“You shouldn’t feel that you should deny yourself the enjoyment of moderate alcohol.”
Dr Pharoah was speaking at the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Cancer Conference in Liverpool, where he was presenting results from a study conducted with the South Egypt Cancer Institute.
They looked at 13,525 women who had been diagnosed and treated for breast cancer, who they followed for up to 15 years.
Those who drank seven units a week cut the chance of dying from breast cancer in a decade from 20 to 18pc, and those who drank 14 units weekly reduced the chance to 16pc.
The study did not look at how drinking more than 14 units a week might affect a women’s chances of survival.
The study found there was a “slightly stronger” benefit for those women with oestrogen-receptor negative breast cancers. These tend to be more aggressive but only affect a minority of patients.
The benefit was a little weaker among women with oestrogen-receptor positive breast cancers, which account for about three-quarters of cases.
Researchers also looked at the link between weight - or more precisely body mass index (BMI) - and survival.
They found fatter women had slightly poorer survival rates than those who were thinner.