Alcohol during Adolescence May Increase Risk of Breast Cancer

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In a study published in the May issue (online April 12, 2010) of Pediatrics researchers reported that girls and young women drinking alcohol increase their risk of benign (non-cancerous) breast disease and that increases their risk of developing breast cancer. Over 9,000 girls from all 50 states who were daughters of participants in the Nurses Health Study II were included and were part of the Growing Up Today Study. Girls were between age 9 and 15 at the start of the study and followed from 1996 to 2007. A total of 6,899 reported on their alcohol consumption and whether they had ever been diagnoses with benign breast disease.

Girls who drank 6 or 7 days a week were 5.5 time more likely to have benign breast disease than those who did not drink or who had less than one drink a week. Subjects who drank 3 to 5 days a week had three times the risk. Thus, the more alcohol consumed, the more likely the subjects were to have benign breast disease. The researchers concluded that those diagnosed with benign breast disease on average drank more often, drank more on each occasion and had an average daily consumption twice that of those who did not have benign breast disease and had more episodes of binge drinking. .

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