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Drinking Alcohol in Adolescence Affects Breast Health in Adulthood

Posted in Teens

There are many reasons for adolescents to avoid drinking alcohol. While there is often social pressure to drink when alcohol is available, those who do risk not only injury, but conflict with parents, a drop in academic performance and social sanctions from other adolescents who choose not to drink.

A new study says that the risks do not stop in the adolescent years. Recent research suggests that there may be a link between adolescent alcohol consumption and breast health in adulthood among young women.

The study, led by Catherine S. Berkey, ScDa, examined the relationship between adolescent alcohol consumption and the risk of benign breast disease in young women. The study used consumption information gathered in real time, and looked at the relationship between the drinking levels and biopsy-confirmed benign breast disease.

The researchers utilized the Growing Up Today Study, which is a prospective study of US girls. At the start of the study, the girls were aged 9 to 15 years. They were given annual questionnaires from 1996 to 2001, and then follow-up questionnaires were issued in 2003, 2005, and 2007.

The 2003 questionnaire included questions about the alcoholic beverage consumption of the girls, who were then aged from 16 to 23 years. The 2005 and 2007 surveys showed that 6,899 women, aged between 18 and 27 years, reported whether they had been diagnosed with benign breast disease.

147 of the women reported that they had been diagnosed with benign breast disease, and 67 of those cases were confirmed with a biopsy. 6,752 women reported that they had never been diagnosed with a benign breast disease.

The results of the study show that there was an association between the amount of alcohol consumed during adolescence and the occurrence of benign breast disease in adulthood. Adolescent girls who had consumed alcohol on a regular basis 6 or 7 days a week were at higher risk than those who abstained from drinking, or who rarely drank.

The results of the study indicate that higher amounts of alcohol consumed during adolescence may be associated with a higher risk of developing a benign breast disease in early adulthood.

Adolescents should be counseled to consider many different aspects of alcohol consumption choices, and this study indicates that breast health may soon be a part of the discussion of the consequences of consuming alcohol at a young age.