Alcohol intake linked to prostate cancer


Australian and Canadian researchers have found new evidence of a significant link between alcohol consumption and prostate cancer. Prostate cancer starts in the prostate gland, which is a walnut sized gland at the base of the bladder in men.

The research team identified all previously published studies on alcohol and prostate cancer and found 27 that attempted to measure the risk at different levels of consumption. Controlling for abstainer bias – the common practice of lumping together former drinkers with those who have abstained from drinking alcohol for their whole lives - in their analysis, they found a statistically significant dose-response relationship between the amount of alcohol consumed and risk of prostate cancer among current drinkers.

Read more: Daily drinking ‘raises breast cancer risk’

In other words, the more you drink, the greater your risk of prostate cancer.

Even at low-volume drinking or "up to two drinks per day", men had an eight per cent greater risk of prostate cancer compared to lifetime abstainers. But when the researchers examined six studies that were originally free of abstainer bias, the risk for low volume drinkers rose to 23 per cent.

Given the high prevalence of prostate cancer, especially in the developed world, the public health implications of these findings are significant. Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men in Canada, Australia and Britain, and is the fifth most common cause of cancer death in men worldwide.

Read more: Baldness could be sign of prostate cancer

"This new study contributes to the strengthening evidence that alcohol consumption is a risk factor for prostate cancer," said study co-author Dr. Tim Stockwell. "Alcohol's contribution to prostate cancer will need to be factored in to future estimates of the global burden of disease."

The research was published in journal BMC Cancer.

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