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Drinking alcohol before first pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of benign breast disease (BBD) and breast cancer, according to a new study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

The research study authors write, “The general consistency in the patterns of association between alcohol and risk of proliferative BBD and of breast cancer lends support to the hypothesis that alcohol intake, particularly before first pregnancy when breast tissue is likely at its most vulnerable stage, may play an important role in the etiology of breast cancer.”

Ying Liu, M.D., Ph.D., from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO, and colleagues conducted the study of 116,671 female registered nurses. Ages ranged from 25-44. Factors taken into consideration were lifestyle, medical and reproductive history. Among these women, 1,609 cases of breast cancer and 970 cases of BBD occurred during the study period.

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