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Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 1999 Nov;8(11):1017-21.

Alcohol consumption in relation to breast cancer risk in a cohort of United States women 25-42 years of age.

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  • 1Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


We evaluated current and past alcohol consumption prospectively in relation to breast cancer risk among 116,671 women ages 25-42 years old at enrollment in 1989. During 6 years of follow-up, 445 cases of invasive breast cancer were identified. For alcohol consumption in the previous year, the multivariate relative risk associated with more than 20 g/day (approximately 10 drinks/week) was 1.23 (95% confidence interval, 0.68-2.21); the P for trend was 0.85. For average lifetime alcohol consumption, the multivariate relative risk associated with consumption of 10 or more drinks/week was 1.20 (95% confidence interval, 0.69-2.11); the P for trend was 0.18. We examined drinking in several time periods of life; only drinking at ages 23-30 was significantly positively associated with risk. Although this may represent a chance finding, it merits further study. Because drinking levels in this population were low, we had limited information on heavier drinking. Our results suggest that there is unlikely to be a large effect of moderate alcohol consumption on breast cancer risk among young women, although a modest effect cannot be excluded. The association between alcohol consumption and breast cancer is unlikely to be substantially stronger among premenopausal women than among postmenopausal women.

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