Women and girls who drink during adolescence are more likely to develop benign breast disease, a report has suggested.
Often a precursor of breast cancer, benign breast disease appeared to be significantly more common among young women who drank on six or seven days of the week.
Looking at girls aged between nine and 15 years of age, the study found those who drank nearly every day of the week were 5.5 times more likely to develop the disease than those who drank less than once a week.
Graham Colditz, associate director of prevention and control at the Siteman Cancer Center at Washington University School of Medicine and Barnes-Jewish Hospital, commented: "The study is an indication that alcohol should be limited in adolescence and early adult years and further focuses our attention on these years as key to preventing breast cancer later in life."
According to Cancer Research, breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK.
However, the charity claims that the number of women dying from the disease is now less than 12,000 a year for the first time in nearly 40 years.