Online Alcohol Class Could Help Prevent Breast Cancer

by: Mike Miller

Is there any type of cancer or disease alcohol does not have a detrimental impact on? If so, there are not many. The latest report has alcohol increasing the likelihood of breast cancer in teens.

Drinking alcohol may increase the risk of breast cancer in teens, if they have a family history of the disease.

Harvard Leading the Way

Dr. Catherine Berkey, a biostatistician at Brigham n Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, led a team that investigated childhood and adolescent risk factors for benign breast disease among girls with a family history of breast cancer.

Benign breast disease, a large class of breast ailments that can cause breast lumps or breast pain, is a known risk factor for breast cancer.

The study found that among adolescent girls with a family history of breast cancer (or maternal benign breast disease), there was a significant association between amount of alcohol consumed and further increased risk of getting benign breast disease as young women.

The Growing Up Today Study (GUTS, founded by co-author Dr. Graham Colditz), included females who were aged nine to 15 years old.

Participants provided information regarding alcohol consumption, age at first menstrual period, height, and body mass index.

In the final two surveys, the participants (who were aged 18 to 27 years at the time) reported whether they had ever been diagnosed with benign breast disease.

A total of 67 reported receiving this diagnosis (confirmed by breast biopsy), while another 6,741 reported they had never been diagnosed with the disease.

Also, participants' mothers reported their own cases of benign breast disease and breast cancer, as well as breast cancer in their sisters and mothers (maternal aunts and maternal grandmothers of the participants).

Genes Do Count

Young women whose mothers or aunts had breast cancer were more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with benign breast disease compared to young women with no family history. Young women whose mothers had benign breast disease also saw their own risk (for benign breast disease) nearly double.

More importantly, among adolescent girls having a mother, aunt, or grandmother with breast cancer, the more alcohol the girls consumed, the more likely they were to develop benign breast disease as young women.

Hopefully studies like this which reveal the dangerous effects alcohol have on such a serious issue will deter some teens from experimenting with alcohol. I would encourage any teen looking for more information to enroll in an online alcohol class.