While we're on the topic of breast cancer, I'd like to tell you about something that just might help protect women from some of the side effects of radiation treatments.

And it's something many people enjoy already, whether they have cancer or not: red wine.

I've already told you about some of the great benefits of red wine as well as alcohol in general. But new research finds that those reds have one other trait: preventing skin toxicity in women undergoing radiation therapy as part of their breast cancer treatment.

The Italian study, published in August in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics, followed 348 women with breast cancer.

Researchers found that women who enjoyed a glass of wine on treatment days had a 13.6 percent rate of serious skin reactions, versus skin reactions in 38.4 percent of women who drank no wine. That's a pretty big benefit from something that most people can really enjoy, especially at a time when enjoyment is a little harder to come by.

Cancer radiation therapy has a number of nasty side effects. Most people know about the nausea and vomiting. Fewer people know that this treatment often leads to serious skin reactions.

So in addition to all the meds women take as part of their cancer treatment, they also end up taking meds for the side effects, like that skin reaction.

These meds in turn have their own side effects, and some of them can actually protect breast cancer tumors. You can probably see where this is going: A never-ending chain of illness and meds, making the breast cancer diagnosis that much more miserable.

So instead of turning to still more meds to fill this need, fill a glass instead – a glass of red wine. Then raise that glass and toast yourself.

Not only do you deserve it after all you've been through, but it just may help you avoid some of the worst side effects, too.