Many teenagers aren’t deterred from drinking alcohol just because it happens to be illegal, but maybe the chance of developing non-cancerous breast disease will make teen girls think twice before picking up that six-pack of hard lemonade: A new study suggests that frequent alcohol consumption could increase the chances that a teen will get benign breast disease in their 20s.
USAToday discusses the study’s research, which was published online recently in the journal Pediatrics. The study found that the diagnoses of BBD like fibroadenoma, a noncancerous tumor, in women under 30 rose as their consumption rose “to a 5.5 times greater risk for drinking six or seven days per week, when compared with those who never drank or who drank less than once per week.”
Study co-author Catherine Berkey, a biostatistician at Harvard Medical School in Boston, explains that the experiment was unique because it relied on girls reporting their drinking habits while they were still teens, as oppose to other studies that use information from women simply recalling their drinking habits years later.
“Our new study is the first in which alcohol data were collected during adolescence, with continued follow-up in the females as they develop disease,” she said, adding that having a benign breast disease is known to also raise the risk for breast cancer.
Dr. Patricia Ganz, director of cancer prevention and control research at the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of California, Los Angeles, says the new study is “excellent,” but that it shouldn’t necessarily be used to warn kids against drinking.
“I wouldn’t scare (teens) and say, ‘You are going to get breast cancer if you drink,'” Ganz told USA oday. But, duh: “The public health message is, these young girls shouldn’t be drinking anyway.”