Drinking during adolescence may increase risk of breast cancer for women

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A bad hangover isn t all to fear from alcohol consumption. A new study warns that if a woman drinks one alcoholic beverage per day, on average, between her first period and first full-term pregnancy, her risk of breast cancer increases.

The study was done by researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis. It was the first to link increased breast cancer risk to drinking in the period between adolescence and pregnancy; previous studies focused on risks occurring later in life.

The study s findings were based on 91,005 mothers who participated in a major U.S. health study from 1989 to 2009. These women had no cancer history, and completed questions on early alcohol consumption in 1989. To analyze risk of breast cancer they were followed through 2009.

The results? Alcohol consumption between adolescence and first full-term pregnancy was associated with 13 percent increased risk of breast cancer in the women.

ACSH s Dr. Gilbert Ross had this to say: There are data showing a link between amount of alcohol consumed daily (or weekly) and an elevated risk of breast cancer in adult women and seniors. This is the first similar study I ve seen focusing on young adults and teens. While some caution is indicated in terms of how much alcohol to consume with the thought of breast cancer in mind, note that this is an observational study and the degree of putative elevated risk is not substantial enough to really be of concern. There are more significant reasons to keep alcohol ingestion under good control.