Family Magazine

Teen Girls with Family History of Breast Cancer Shouldn’t Drink

By Jean Campbell

drinkAdd another reason to the already long list of reasons why teenagers shouldn’t drink.

The most recent reason not to drink as a teenager has to do with teenage girls who have a family history of breast cancer or of breast lesions that sometimes lead to breast cancer. These girls already have a higher risk of developing those lesions when they get older and now a recent study  indicates the risk of what’s called benign breast disease rises even more if the teenagers drink.

Dr. Graham Colditz, of  Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, conducted a study, which appears in the journal Cancer and was supported by the National Institutes of Health. After reviewing data on more than 6,000 girls followed from ages 9 to 15 to ages 18 to 27. His conclusion…teenage girls with a family history of breast cancer and breast disease clearly should not drink.

While the information in this study is a critical piece of prevention that can easily be put into practice, how do we get this information to teenage girls? Are teenage girls receptive to hearing about breast health measures that will set them apart from other teens?

What is the answer? Curriculum that deals with breast health is now apart of health courses in some high schools across the U.S. Will teenage girls identify with information presented in a school setting or does this information need to be shared on a more personal level? Does it need to be a discussion that a mother needs to have with her teenage daughter if she is part of a family with a history of breast cancer?

Given the high incidence of breast cancer and breast lesions, there are millions of teenage girls who come from families with a history of breast diseases.  If you have a teenage daughter and a family history of breast cancer, isn’t it time to have the don’t drink talk?


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