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Drinking Alcohol Before First Pregnancy Linked to Breast Disease Risk

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- Women who drink alcohol regularly between the time of their first period and the time they have their first baby may have an increased risk of breast cancer and benign breast disease, according to a new study.

Researchers from Washington University and Harvard teamed up to look at the famous Nurses’ Health Study, a large set of data gathered from thousands of women. They looked specifically at a subset of more than 60,000 of these women to compare their breast cancer risk to how much alcohol they reported drinking before becoming pregnant for the first time.

The researchers found that for every additional 10 grams of alcohol these women drank per day (a normal drink is estimated to have 12 grams of alcohol), they had an 11-percent increased risk of breast cancer and a 16-percent increased risk of benign breast disease.

The study is associative and therefore cannot confirm that alcohol consumption is directly responsible for the increased risk of breast disease. However, the study authors conclude that steps to reduce alcohol consumption in these women may subsequently decrease breast disease risk.

This study's findings were published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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