Cancer link to drinking before first pregnancy
Young women who like to party before motherhood risk increasing their chances of breast cancer, research suggests.
A study has found that greater levels of drinking before a first pregnancy heighten the risk of the disease.
Women who never have children, or delay becoming pregnant, were already known to be more susceptible to breast cancer. The new research, based on findings from 91,000 women aged 15 to 40, found an additional link with alcohol intake.
Alcohol consumption between menarche – or first period – and first pregnancy also raised the risk of benign breast disease (BBD).
Writing in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, the researchers led by Dr Ying Liu from Washington University School of Medicine, said: "The longer the duration of menarche to first pregnancy, the higher is a woman's risk of breast cancer.
"Compared with non-drinkers with a shorter duration, non-drinkers with duration of 10 or more years between menarche and first pregnancy had 26pc and 81pc increased risk of breast cancer and proliferative BBD."
For women with an intake of at least 15 grams of alcohol per day – roughly two units in Ireland – the risk was 34pc higher than for non-drinkers.
The scientists used data from the Nurses' Health Study II, a major US study of health and lifestyle in female registered nurses.