Research in the US has found that women who regularly drank during their teens and 20s, before they had children, were more likely to develop breast cancer in later life.
The study looked at a particular point in a woman’s life – the period between having her first menstrual period (menarche) and her first pregnancy, according to a report in NHS choices.
The research found there was an association between alcohol consumption during this time and an increase in the risk of benign breast cancer (BBD) and breast cancer. The association seems to be dose-dependent – the more alcohol women consumed, the greater the risk.
A longer interval between a woman’s first period and first pregnancy also appeared to increase risk.
This was a large, well-conducted study and the results are concerning. Alcohol is already known to be a risk factor for breast cancer and heavy drinking at a young age has other health risks.
Experts advise that women of all ages consider reducing alcohol consumption to reduce the risk of breast cancer.