Alcohol consumption concerning for BBD

April 19, 2012

Alcohol consumption by adolescents increases the risk of proliferative benign breast disease in a dose-dependent manner, findings from the Nurses' Health Study II indicate. Find out whether folate intake reduces the risk.

Alcohol consumption by adolescents increases the risk of proliferative benign breast disease (BBD) in a dose-dependent manner, findings from the Nurses’ Health Study II indicate.

Using data from 29,117 women who completed a questionnaire about their use of alcohol when aged between 18 and 22 years and their intake of folate during adolescence and who were free from BBD and cancer at baseline, researchers sought to determine whether adequate folate intake might protect against BBD, a risk factor for breast cancer, as has been suggested in previous studies.

Among the participants, 659 were diagnosed with proliferative BBD during 10 years of follow-up. Alcohol use during adolescence was significantly associated with an increased relative risk of proliferative BBD. Each 10 g of alcohol consumed per day increased the risk of proliferative BBD by 15%. No significant association was found between folate intake during adolescence and risk of proliferative BBD, regardless of the source of folate.

Currently, reducing the use of alcohol during adolescence and early adulthood is the only dietary approach that may lower the risk of proliferative BBD in young women, the researchers conclude.

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