The link between alcohol and breast cancer is growing.
(Medical Press)- Adding to research linking alcohol to breast cancer risk, a new study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis shows that adolescent girls with a family history of breast disease — either cancer or the benign lesions that can become cancer – have a higher risk of developing benign breast disease as young women than other girls. And unlike girls without a family history, this already-elevated risk rises with increasing alcohol consumption.
"The most common question we hear from women with a family history of breast disease is how can we prevent breast cancer in our daughters," says epidemiologist Graham A. Colditz, MD, PhD, the Niess-Gain Professor of Surgery and senior author on the study published online Nov. 14 in the journal Cancer. "This points to a strategy to lower risk — or avoid increasing risk — by limiting alcohol intake."
This study is one of the first to look at alcohol consumption in adolescents and the risk of breast disease. Most studies linking alcohol to the risk of developing breast cancer focus on women in their 40s, 50s and 60s and on their risk of invasive breast cancer, not the risk of early, benign lesions that may lead to invasive breast cancer.
One such study published Nov. 2 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, in which Colditz was a co-author, found a moderate increase in breast cancer risk with as few as three to six drinks per week for any adult women, regardless of family history.