A new study presented at the 2011 Breast Cancer Symposium has reported that adolescent alcohol consumption is associated with higher risk of proliferative benign breast disease, especially in women with low adolescent folate intake. Given the importance of the time between first period and first childbirth in breast cancer risk, it is plausible that teenage alcohol consumption could influence the risk of proliferative benign breast disease. In addition, folate might modify the adverse effect of alcohol consumption on breast cancer. The study included data concerning 29,329 women in the Nursesí Health Study II who completed two adolescent alcohol consumption questions in 1989, as well as a 1998 questionnaire concerning adolescent diet. A total of 666 of the women were diagnosed with proliferative benign breast disease between 1991 and 2001. The analysis was adjusted for established breast cancer risk factors.

Adolescent alcohol consumption was found to be associated with an increased risk of proliferative benign breast disease in a dose dependent manner (12% increase per 10g/day alcohol consumed). However, adolescent alcohol consumption was not associated with increased risk of proliferative benign breast disease among women with higher adolescent folate intake. Among women with low folate intake (<279 mg/day) the risk of proliferative benign breast disease was higher with both moderate alcohol intake and high alcohol intake.

Please see our articles on how to protect our teenage daughters from breast cancer and benign fibrocystic breast disease for more information.