A LITTLE RED to HELP the SKIN
Radiation is a vital part of many cancer treatments. Unfortunately, one of its side effects can be radiation-induced skin toxicity. But there is encouraging news and it involves sipping a little red. A new study of women with breast cancer found that drinking red wine can help limit the toxic effects of radiation therapy. It’s already known that some wine components, specifically polyphenols and tannins, may protect against the harmful effects of radiation. In the study, Dr. Gabriella Macchia, of Catholic University, Campobasso, Italy, and colleagues, evaluated red wine consumption in 348 women treated with radiation therapy after breast cancer surgery and found that it was highly protective. The incidence of radiation-induced skin toxicity was 38.4 percent in non-drinkers; 31.8 percent in women drinking only half a glass of wine daily, 13.6 percent in those drinking one glass daily, and 35 percent in those drinking two glasses daily. Women who drank only one glass daily had a much lower risk of suffering skin effects from radiation therapy. Specifically, their risk of significant skin toxicity was about 75 percent less than that in non-drinkers, the researchers found. Macchia recommended that the potential protective effects of red wine be evaluated in both male and female patients with other types of tumors that require radiation.