School-age drinking raises breast cancer risk
Here’s one more reason female teenagers shouldn’t drink: It may increase their chances of developing breast cancer. A study published in the _Journal of the National Cancer Institute_found that females who have one alcoholic drink per day between the time of their first menstrual cycle and their first child increase their risk of breast cancer by 13 percent, and benign breast disease by 15 percent.
The Washington University School of Medicine researchers based their findings on 91,005 health records of mothers enrolled in the Nurses’ Health Study II from 1989 to 2009. The study notes that breast tissue is more susceptible to cancer-causing substances during adolescence and beyond because the tissue is multiplying more quickly, particularly during puberty and pregnancy. Women are waiting longer to have children, which the study says can add to the risk.
This is the first study to link increased breast cancer risk to drinking between early adolescence and a first full-term pregnancy. The researchers noted that more research is required to determine how young women can combat the risks of alcohol.