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Photo: <a href="">Jenny Scott</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Photo: Jenny Scott, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Early alcohol use boosts breast cancer risk

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The more alcohol young women drink before motherhood, the greater their risk of future breast cancer according to a new study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

The findings are based on a review of the health histories of more than 90,000 mothers.

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Reported by

Martha Foley
News and Public Affairs Director

They show that if a woman averages one drink per day between her first menstrual period and having her first child, she increases her risk of breast cancer by 11 percent.

An average of two drinks per day means an increased risk of 22 percent and so on.

Dr. Alissa Huston is with the University of Rochester’s cancer center. She says excessive drinking is never healthy, but young women need to think more now about the risks they’re taking, “If you are a college student out there, if you are of drinking age, try to moderate that amount of alcohol. I think one of the things that I often tell my patients about a lot of kind of health related items is, moderation is probably the key.”

And she says with more and more women having children later in life, it’s important for them to try to moderate alcohol consumption early on. “We know that women are delaying having children later and later, and that is probably not going to get shorter,” she says. “So this is something women can actively change or impact to try and reduce their risk.”

Huston says with more and more heavy drinking occurring in college and during adolescence, young women need to be conscious of the risks they face if they have more than one drink per day.

Thanks to Kate O'Connell, WXXI, for this story.

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