The young drinker and her risk for breast cancer

April 27, 2010 by  
Filed under CANCER

Young and free – that’s how adolescents feel. But remember that you are not free to do anything you want as if there is no tomorrow. What you do today, can affect your health in the future.

Take the case of alcohol consumption. Teenage binge drinking is becoming a widespread problem in developed countries. A previous post indicated the health risks of adolescent drinking. Here is another study that reports an additional and very serious risk: the risk for breast cancer.

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and Harvard University report that teenage girls who drink alcohol increases their risk for benign breast disease and eventually more aggressive cancerous form of the disease.

According study author to Dr. Graham Colditz at the Siteman Cancer Center at Washington University School of Medicine and Barnes-Jewish Hospital:

“Our study clearly showed that the risk of benign breast disease increased with the amount of alcohol consumed in this age group. The study is an indication that alcohol should be limited in adolescence and early adult years and further focuses our attention on these years as key to preventing breast cancer later in life.”

The researchers looked at 6,899 American girls aged 9 to 15 years old as part of the Growing Up Today Study. The results of the study indicate that alcohol consumption increased the likelihood of developing benign lumps in the developing breasts. The higher the alcohol consumption, the greater is the risk. Those who drank 6 to 7 days a week have a 5.5 times likelihood of developing breast lumps and lesions. You may ask: who cares about a few benign breast lumps? However, many aggressive breast cancer start as benign, thus making these seemingly innocuous lumps important markers for cancer risk.

The validity of the results is high because it studied adolescents and followed them up to adulthood. Other studies on association between alcohol and breast cancer were on adult women who had to report on drinking habits in their younger years.

“There’s growing evidence that physical activity can lower breast cancer risk. We also know that diet and weight are important factors. Now it is clear that drinking habits throughout life affect breast cancer risk, as well.”

There has been evidence showing that alcohol consumption increases cancer risk. The current study suggests that the earlier a woman starts drinking alcohol, the higher is risk increase.

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.