A study has revealed that alcohol consumption before first pregnancy is consistently associated with increased risks of proliferative benign breast diseases (BBD) and breast cancer.

Researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis found that the more alcohol a woman drinks between her first period and her first full-term pregnancy, the higher her risk of developing breast cancer.

The study dubbed: Alcohol intake between menarche and first pregnancy: A prospective study of breast cancer risk, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, was made available to the Ghana News Agency on Tuesday.

The study used data from 91,005 women in the Nurses’ Health Study II who had no cancer history, completed questions on early alcohol consumption in 1989, and were followed through June 30, 2009, to analyse breast cancer risk.

A subset of 60,093 women who had no history of BBD or cancer in 1991 and were followed through June 30, 2001, were included in the analysis. The study identified 1,609 breast cancer cases and 970 proliferative BBD cases confirmed by central histology review.

The study also shows that if a female averages a drink per day between her first period and her first full-term pregnancy, she increases her risk of breast cancer by 13 per cent, in addition to breast cancer.

The researchers found that a daily drink increases the risk of proliferative benign breast disease by 15 per cent.

Beatrice Wiafe-Addae, President of Breast Care International, an NGO, confirmed to Joy News’ Elton John Brobbey that alcohol consumption is a major cause of the disease and called on women be cautious.

“We know for example that if you start counting women, one out of every eight would develop it, but it is not known who will develop it and who wouldn’t so we advice them…to take a cue from this research and limit their alcohol intake”, she stated.

He also called for behaviourial change and continuous regular examination of the breast among women for early detection of the disease.