By: Kathleen Doheny
Studies have proven that teenage girls who drink more than once a week are more likely to develop non-cancerous breast disease in their 20’s and breast cancer later in life. Catherine Berkey, a biostatistician at Harvard Medical School in Boston, said that benign breast disease is known to boost the risk for breast cancer.
Benign breast disease (BBD) includes a number of nonmalignant conditions. Fibroadenoma, a noncancerous tumor, is the most common in those aged 30 and younger.
A unique aspect of Berkey’s study is that the girls assessed their drinking habits while they were teenagers. Other studies have based their conclusions on adult women recalling their teenage drinking many years later.
The study involved 6,899 women who had become participants in the “Growing Up Today Study” when they were 9 to 15 years old. Information on alcoholic beverage consumption was collected in a follow-up survey when the participants were 16 to 23 years old, and a survey done when they were 18 to 27 years old included questions on breast disease.
In all, 147 participants reported having benign breast disease, with 67 cases having been confirmed by biopsy.