The findings, which were published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, do not support previous studies which found that alcohol consumption is linked to breast cancer risk.
A study published in a previous issue of JAMA found that women who consume between three to six alcoholic drinks per week have a small increase in the risk of breast cancer.
According to the leader of this latest study Polly Newcomb, Ph.D., a member of the Public Health Sciences Division and head of the Cancer Prevention Program at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center:
"Our findings should be reassuring to women who have breast cancer because their past experience consuming alcohol is unlikely to impact their survival after diagnosis. This study also provides additional support for the beneficial effect of moderate alcohol consumption with respect to cardiovascular disease."
The researchers analyzed a total of 23,000 women who were a part of the Collaborative Breast Cancer Study - one of the largest population-based studies looking at risk factors for breast cancer. It was conducted in 1988 and between 1998 and 2001 a follow-up asked 5,000 of the participants with breast cancer about their alcohol consumption.
Alcohol consumption of any amount, before diagnosis of breast cancer, was found to have no association with an increased risk of dying from breast cancer.
In fact, the researchers found that moderate alcohol consumption (around three to six drinks per week) was actually linked to a 15 percent reduction in deaths due to CVDs.
The type and amount of alcohol also made a difference, with moderate wine consumption being particularly associated with a lower risk of death due to CVDs compared to beers or spirits. The health benefits associated with alcohol consumption have already been revealed by Research Laboratories of the Catholic University of Campobasso (Italy).
"It could be that the kind of breast cancer that is more likely to be diagnosed among women who drink may be more responsive to hormone-modifying therapies."
Written by Joseph Nordqvist