Objective: To investigate prospectively, using alcoholic beverage consumption data collected in real time, the association between adolescent drinking and risk of biopsy-confirmed benign breast disease (BBD) in young women.
Participants and methods: The Growing Up Today Study is a prospective cohort study of US girls, aged 9 to 15 years at baseline, with annual questionnaires from 1996 through 2001, followed by questionnaires in 2003, 2005, and 2007. On the 2003 survey, the participants (then aged 16-23 years) provided information about their alcoholic beverage consumption in the previous year. On the 2005 and 2007 surveys, a total of 6899 women (aged 18-27 years) reported whether a health care provider had ever diagnosed them with BBD (n = 147 cases) and whether it was confirmed by biopsy (n = 67 cases); 6752 women reported never being diagnosed with BBD.
Results: Adjusted for age and BMI, quantity of alcohol consumed was associated with increased risk of biopsy-confirmed BBD (odds ratio: 1.50 per drink per day [95% confidence interval: 1.19-1.90]). Girls who typically drank 6 or 7 days/week were at higher risk (odds ratio: 5.50 [95% confidence interval: 1.23-24.53]) compared with those who never drank or who drank less than once per week.
Conclusions: Higher amounts consumed, and more frequent consumption, of alcoholic beverages in adolescence may increase the occurrence of BBD in young women. Advising teenagers to avoid alcoholic beverages, along with smoking and sun exposure, may reduce cancer incidence in adulthood.