Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Int J Epidemiol. 1997 Oct;26(5):915-23.

Breast cancer risk and alcohol consumption: results from a large case-control study.

Author information

  • 1Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH 44106-4945, USA.



Alcohol use is associated with breast cancer in many epidemiological studies. Most, however, have measured risk from recent consumption patterns, and only a few include analyses for duration of drinking or age that a woman started to drink. The authors studied the effect of these variables, as well as of recent alcohol consumption patterns, on breast cancer risk.


Data from a large case-control study conducted in Long Island, New York from 1 January 1984 to 31 December 1986 were used. A total of 1214 women aged 20-79 years with incident breast cancer were interviewed. A control was selected for each case from driver's license files, and matched on age and county of residence. Alcohol consumption was measured as: ever versus never, grams of alcohol per day, age started drinking, and total years drinking.


After adjustment for breast cancer risk factors, the odds ratio for ever versus never drinking was 1.40 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.09-1.79); odds ratios for > 0-5 and > or = 5 grams of alcohol use per day, as compared to nondrinkers, were 1.29 (95% CI: 1.00-1.65) and 1.46 (95% CI: 1.13-1.89), respectively. Age when drinking began was not related to breast cancer risk, but the greater the total years of drinking, up to 40 years (odds ratio 1.48, 95% CI: 1.13-1.93), the greater the risk. However, when grams per day and duration of drinking were simultaneously included in the multivariate model, duration was not important as a risk factor. This suggests that intensity of drinking may be the important factor for breast cancer risk. After covariate adjustment, risk from alcohol intake did not differ between pre- and postmenopausal women.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk