The associations of adolescent cigarette smoking, alcoholic beverage consumption, environmental tobacco smoke, and ionizing radiation with subsequent breast cancer risk (United States)

Cancer Causes Control. 2000 Mar;11(3):271-8. doi: 10.1023/a:1008911902994.


Objectives: Studies of breast cancer among survivors of the World War II atomic bomb blasts over Japan suggest that the adolescent breast may be particularly sensitive to carcinogenic insult. To further explore that possibility we examined the relationships of cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) exposure, and medical treatment with ionizing radiation during adolescence with subsequent breast cancer risk.

Methods: Data from the Carolina Breast Cancer Study, a population-based, case-control study of breast cancer in North Carolina women aged 20-74 years (864 cases, 790 controls), were analyzed.

Results: A modest increase in breast cancer risk was suggested for women who began to smoke cigarettes between the ages of 10 and 14 years (OR: 1.5, CI: 0.9-2.5), and for women exposed to ionizing radiation between ages 10 and 19 years to treat or monitor a medical condition (OR: 1.6, CI: 0.5-2.5). Neither exposure to ETS at home prior to age 18 years (OR: 1.1, CI: 0.9-1.3) nor initiation of alcoholic beverage consumption between ages 10 and 15 years (OR: 1.1, CI: 0.6-1.8) appeared to increase risk.

Conclusions: Our results are consistent with previous evidence suggesting that some adolescent exposures could influence future breast cancer risk.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects*
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / etiology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced / epidemiology*
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced / etiology
  • North Carolina / epidemiology
  • Odds Ratio
  • Radiation, Ionizing
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / adverse effects*
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / statistics & numerical data


  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution