MONDAY, Nov. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Drinking alcohol may be especially risky for young women who have a strong family history of breast cancer, including having mothers, grandmothers or aunts with the disease, a new study suggests.
Researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis examined data on more than 9,000 girls, all daughters of nurses, from 1996 (when they were aged 9 to 15) through 2007.
They focused on 67 participants who were later diagnosed between the ages of 18 and 27 with benign breast disease, a large class of conditions that can cause breast lumps or pain and can be a risk factor for breast cancer.
The researchers found that women who have a family history of breast cancer or breast disease were about twice as likely to develop both benign breast disease and breast cancer than women with no family history of the disease.
Risk of benign breast disease rose along with how much alcohol the young women consumed, according to the study.
In young women with no family history of breast disease, alcohol consumption wasn't associated with an increased chance of benign breast disease.
The study is published in the Nov. 14 online issue of the journal Cancer.
It's possible that young women who are especially prone to develop breast cancer can reduce their risk of benign breast disease by avoiding alcohol, researchers said in a university news release.
"The most common question we hear from women with a family history of breast disease is: 'How can we prevent breast cancer in our daughters?'" said senior study author Dr. Graham Coldtiz, a professor of surgery. "This points to a strategy to lower risk -- or avoid increasing risk -- by limiting alcohol intake."
But Dr. Anees Chagpar, director of The Breast Center at Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven, questioned the findings, noting that the number of participants diagnosed with benign br
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