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Alcohol Linked to Benign Breast Disease in Young Women

Last Updated: April 12, 2010.

Among teen girls and young women, more frequent alcohol consumption and greater quantity consumed is associated with a higher risk of benign breast disease in young adulthood, according to research published online April 12 in Pediatrics, which also featured a policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics with recommendations for pediatricians regarding alcohol use in youths.

MONDAY, April 12 (HealthDay News) -- Among teen girls and young women, more frequent alcohol consumption and greater quantity consumed is associated with a higher risk of benign breast disease (BBD) in young adulthood, according to research published online April 12 in Pediatrics, which also featured a policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics with recommendations for pediatricians regarding alcohol use in youths.

In the study, Catherine S. Berkey, of the Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues analyzed data from 6,899 teens and young women in a prospective cohort study. In a 2003 survey -- at ages 16 to 23 -- they gave information about their alcohol use in the previous year. On surveys in 2005 and 2007, they reported if they'd been diagnosed with BBD. Quantity of alcohol consumed was linked to increased risk of biopsy-confirmed BBD (odds ratio, 1.50 per drink per day), and those who drank six or seven days a week had higher risk (odds ratio, 5.50) compared to those who never or seldom drank.

In the policy statement, the authors recommend that health care providers who work with youths become knowledgeable about substance abuse; obtain family medical and social histories related to substance use; recognize risk factors for alcohol and other drug use in youths; screen for current alcohol and drug use; intervene as appropriate; and encourage parents to strive to prevent underage drinking and substance abuse.

"Specific recommendations regarding the best management tools and techniques for treatment will be available in a forthcoming statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics on substance use screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment for pediatricians," write the authors of the policy statement.

Abstract - Berkey
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Abstract - Policy Statement
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