Drinking increases risk of breast lumps in young women

There are plenty of good reasons to for you women to avoid binge drinking. My colleague Don Sapatkin reports on a study in the medial journal Pediatrics that provides another one, the more adolescent girls drink the more likely they are to develop breast lumps that can increase the risk of breast cancer.

Here’s the brief story on that study that will appear in Monday’s Health & Science section:

The more alcohol a girl drinks in adolescence, the more likely she is to develop breast lumps as a teenager and young woman, a new study suggests.

Eighty percent of breast lumps, known as benign breast disease, are noncancerous. But they can be a pathway to breast cancer. Since most breast cancers develop later in life and since drinking by adult women is a known risk factor, the researchers decided to look at the relation between alcohol and benign breast disease in the earlier years.

They analyzed data from an ongoing national survey of girls beginning at ages 9 to 15 and continuing to ages 18 to 27. The typical amount of alcohol (1 1/2 drinks per day) was associated with a higher risk of diagnosed benign breast disease compared with one drink or none. Girls who reported drinking three to five days a week had triple the risk; those who drank six or seven days, 5 1/2 times the risk. More drinks per occasion and binge drinking were also linked to greater risk.

The findings are of particular concern, the researchers reported online last week in the journal Pediatrics, “because alcohol intakes by college students has increased greatly in recent years.”