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February 15, 2012

Alcohol Consumption and Breast Cancer Risk—Reply

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Channing Laboratory, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts (

JAMA. 2012;307(7):666. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.147

In Reply: Dr Poli and colleagues question whether differences in mammographic screening according to alcohol consumption could contribute to the differences in breast cancer risk that we observed in the Nurses' Health Study cohort. The demographic characteristics in Table 1 of the article represented the cohort in 1994 and the prevalence of mammography included some nonresponders to the 1994 questionnaire in the denominator. Mammographic screening increased over time in the study population, so that by the 2006 questionnaire (when the participants were aged 60-85 years), 88% of respondents had obtained a mammogram or had a clinical breast examination in the previous 2 years (rates were 85.1%, 88.2%, 88.5%, 89.7%, and 88.8% for alcohol consumption of 0, 0.1-4.9, 5-9.9, 10-19.9, and ≥20 g/day, respectively).