Teen drinking: Image via IrishHealth.com Frequent consumption of alcohol by teenage girls has been found to increase their risk of benign breast disease (BBD) more than five times that of their peers who don't drink or drink less than once a week. The new study, published in this week's Pediatrics journal, indicates there may also be a further risk.
The findings, collected at Harvard Medical School, involved 6,899 women who joined in the 'Growing Up Today Study' when they were 9 to 15 years old. Eight years later, when the participants were 16 to 23 years old, they were given a survey regarding the frequency of their alcohol consumption. Later, where they were 18 to 27 years old, they were asked about their breast health.
BBD was reported by 147 participants. When the incidence of BBD was compared to their reported drinking frequency, it clearly showed that the more frequent the drinking the greater the risk of BBD, with risk being 1.5 times the non-drinkers among those who drank one or two alcoholic beverages per week and 5.5 times greater for those who reported drinking six or seven times a week.
But perhaps the biggest risk among these young women is that they might be at a greater risk for breast cancer later in life, since some forms of BBD increase that risk.
Biostatistician Catherine Berkey, who co-authored the study, said that during the teen years women need to watch out for exposure to potential cancer contributors, such as alcohol, because the breasts are undergoing many changes during those years. Alcohol is known to increase estrogen levels.
The 'Growing Up Today Study' is a continuing study.
Source: USA Today