Women, who consume more alcohol before motherhood, are more prone to breast cancer later in life as per a latest health research. This research establishes a link between early drinking habits, first pregnancy and breast cancer.
Researchers analyzed the drinking habits of some 116,671 women aged 25 to 44 years for a period of 20 years. They collected the data about their alcohol consumption and breast cancer risks. These women were asked to recall the amount of alcohol they consumed during ages 15 to 17, 18 to 22 and 23 to 30 respectively. They were even asked about the ages when they got their first period and when they gave birth to their first child. From the above data, researchers were able to get a rough idea about each woman’s alcohol consumption during various stages of her life. Researchers identified 1609 cases of breast cancer along with 970 cases of benign breast disease.
The results of the data were adjusted to various other risk factors like:
Age during the first pregnancy
Number of kids
Any family history of breast cancer
Findings of the Study
With this data, researchers were able to conclude that even small amounts of alcohol consumption during the teenage days, has an adverse impact on the breast tissues in a woman. Our body breaks alcohol into acetaldehyde that triggers genetic mutations, thus increasing the chances of developing tumors. It also increases Oestrogen production in the body, which further promotes tumor growth.
Analysis of the Study
Risk for breast cancer inflates to one-third in women, who drink alcohol equivalent to a glass of wine daily and between the ages, they get their first period and when they become mothers for the first time.
Breast tissues in young women are at a growing stage and are therefore, more susceptible to the harmful effects of alcohol.
For every bottle of beer, a glass of wine or shot of liquor consumed daily, there is a 15 percent increased risk for proliferative benign breast disease (BBD). Such lesions are although non-cancerous, yet the risk of breast cancer increases by 500 percent.
A longer interval between a woman’s first period and first pregnancy also increases the risks of developing breast cancer.
Alcohol consumption as we already know is a risk factor for breast cancer. However, this study confirms the fact. Researchers pointed out that this study will go a long way to enlighten young women about the perils of taking up the habit of boozing early in life.
Apart from breast cancer risk, consumption of alcohol more than the recommended limit regularly can cause liver problems, reduce fertility, and increase the risk for cancer, stroke and other mental health problems.
Word of Caution
In the UK, more than 50,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer annually and around 11,500 succumb to the disorder. However, women can lower this risk by embracing a healthier lifestyle. Women should also stay away from smoking. Obese women should indulge in regular exercise and should follow a healthy diet to maintain a proper body weight.