Can heavy drinking increase the risk of aggressive prostate cancer later in life?
Alcohol is a known carcinogen and heavy consumption is linked to a range of cancers, including breast, throat and mouth, and liver cancers. To date the jury has been out on whether heavy drinking increases the risk of prostate cancer with mixed evidence across different studies.
A study published recently in Cancer Prevention Research aimed to assess the impact of alcohol intake across the life stages and see if it is linked to a prostate cancer diagnosis. The US-based study surveyed 650 men undergoing a prostate biopsy for their alcohol intake over each decade of life.
The study found that heavy drinking itself did not increase the odds of a prostate cancer diagnosis. However, when a prostate cancer diagnosis was received, the grade or aggressiveness of the cancer was significantly higher compared with men that drank moderately or lightly during their lifetime. These findings indicate that the prostate may be susceptible to carcinogenic exposures, such as alcohol, quite early in life.