Teenaged and young adult women who drink moderate to heavy amounts of alcohol are more likely to develop breast changes that could lead to breast cancer, HealthDay News reported April 9.
For each daily drink (10 grams of alcohol) a woman ages 18 to 22 takes, she increases her risk of developing proliferative benign breast disease by 15 percent, a new study led by researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis finds.
The term ‘benign’ is misleading in this case, however, as benign breast disease “is an important, consistent risk factor” for breast cancer, according to Susan Gapstur, Ph.D., vice president of the epidemiology research program at the American Cancer Society.
Overall, around 11 percent of young women have 1.5 drinks per day or more, around 25 percent don’t drink at all, and the rest fall somewhere in the middle, the study shows. Earlier studies have shown that women who consume even one drink per day may increase their breast cancer risk by 5 percent, unless, perhaps, that drink is red wine.
“I would want [these women] to be aware of alcohol consumption and what it can do, not just in terms of breast cancer,” says study co-author Graham Colditz, M.D. “They are young adults and they are going to make their own decision.”
The study appears in the May 2012 issue of the journal Pediatrics.
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