Teen drinking leads to benign breast disease, which drastically raises the risk of developing malignant tumors.
Alcohol use and abuse is common among teenage girls. This has short- and long-term health effects as well as numerous consequences of alcohol-enhanced risk taking behavior. Alcohol is a known risk factor for breast cancer and studies have shown that a 10 gram per day increase in alcohol intake in adult women is associated with a 7-10 percent increased risk of breast cancer. (One can of beer is estimated to contain 12.8 grams of alcohol, while one four-ounce glass of wine has 11.0 grams.)
A recent study looked at the impact of alcohol intake in adolescent girls on the development of proliferative benign breast disease (BDD), which is known to cause a fourfold increase in the risk of developing breast cancer. The researchers further asked whether folate intake during the teenage years could positively influence the development of proliferative BDD in female adolescent drinkers.
The data revealed that there was a dose-dependent relationship between alcohol consumption during adolescence and the development of proliferative benign breast disease.
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One theory explaining the impact of alcohol on cancer risk suggests that alcohol decreases the body’s levels of folate, a vitamin which is involved in gene expression and DNA repair. Deficiencies in folate could cause a decrease in the body’s ability to repair DNA. Damaged DNA can potentially become cancerous.