ST. LOUIS (UPI) -- Young women who drink alcohol increase their risk of non-cancerous breast disease, a U.S. researcher says.
Dr. Graham Colditz of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and colleagues says the study shows the risk of benign breast disease increases with the amount of alcohol consumed as a girl or young woman.
Colditz explains about 80 percent of breast lumps are benign; however, these lesions can sometimes be a step on the pathway to breast cancer, so benign breast disease is a marker of breast cancer risk.
"The study is an indication that alcohol should be limited in adolescence and early adult years and further focuses our attention on these years as key to preventing breast cancer later in life," Colditz says in a statement.
Colditz and colleagues at Harvard University found teens who drank six or seven days a week were 5.5 times more likely to have benign breast disease than those who had less than one drink per week. Those drinking three to five days per week had three times the risk, the researchers say.
The study, scheduled to be published in the May issue of the Pediatrics, was based on 6,899 girls -- ages 9-15 years -- tracked from 1996 to 2007 using health surveys.