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Teen drinking is very bad.  (Source: About DWI)
Studies continue to illustrate the dangers of alcohol

In our society alcohol is a condoned drug.  To many, smoking is a disgusting habit and smoking marijuana is and should remain illegal in the U.S.  Many argue that alcohol, on the other hand, is an innocent indulgence. 

However, vidence continues to mount about the dangers of overindulging in ethanol, the key component in alcohol, and a substance that is mildly toxic to the human body.  A new study published in the journal 
Pediatrics has been released by the Harvard Medical School in Boston indicating that teenage drinking dramatically increases a young woman's risk of developing breast diseases later in life.

The study found that young women who drank a lot – daily or nearly every day -- during their teenage years were five times as likely to develop a benign breast disease.  Benign breast diseases include conditions like fibroadenoma, a noncancerous tumor.

And that's not all, says study co-author Catherine Berkey, a biostatistician at Harvard Medical School.  She states, "Our study may suggest that teen drinking increases the risk for breast cancer, whether in all females or in those who go on to develop BBD, but longer-term follow-up is certainly required."

Statisticians and medical professionals are calling the study significant as it marks the first time that teenage girls were questioned about their drinking habits and then followed up years later.  Previous studies looking at breast cancer had relied on researchers questioning adult women about their teenage drinking habits, which is thought to be a less accurate technique.

The "Growing Up Today Study" enrolled 6,899 women when they were 9 to 15 years old and then followed up when they were between 16 to 23 years old and 18 to 27 years old.  Of the teens, 147 reported having a breast disease, with 67 cases having been confirmed by biopsy.  The highest correlation was among teens who drank the most frequently, but even teens who only drank once or twice a week were 1.5 times more likely than their peers to suffer from breast disease at a young age.

Professor Berkley comments, "I suspect there may be some small additional BBD risk for even small amounts of alcohol consumed during adolescence."

As they say, correlation does not equate to causation.  However, researchers also think they have a good idea how the alcohol is causing increased rates of breast cancer.  While alcohol itself is mildly poisonous to the human body and can be mildly carcinogenic, the true danger lies in a secondary effect, they say.  Drinking alcohol elevates estrogen levels in growing teens, which raises the risk of problems with the mammary glands, which undergo rapid growth during the teenage years.

Dr. Patricia Ganz, director of cancer prevention and control research at the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of California, Los Angeles comments, "For me, this is not a surprise.  I wouldn't scare (teens) and say, 'You are going to get breast cancer if you drink.' [But] certain forms of BBD [do] increase the risk of breast cancer. [And] the public health message is, these young girls shouldn't be drinking anyway."

That's just one more reason, to develop non-toxic synthehol, it seems.



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What about teens in the EU?
By PrezWeezy on 4/19/2010 8:20:30 PM , Rating: 2
Sure, in the US kids don't get to drink, but in Europe alcohol has a very different connotation. One in which many teens are allowed to drink as they grow up. Yet in Europe the cancer rate is much lower, and I'd be interested to see a contrasting study of European girls and their BBD development.




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