Drink and be merry!? Study reveals early-age drinking makes prostate cancer more aggressive

The study showed that men who had a history of drinking seven or more alcoholic beverages per week were at a higher risk.

                            Drink and be merry!? Study reveals early-age drinking makes prostate cancer more aggressive
(Source:Getty Images)

Men who start drinking early in life run the risk of doing long-term damage to their prostate, a new study has claimed. According to researchers at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill found that men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer also had a history of heavy drinking which more likely triggered the aggressive tumor. The study also concluded that men who had a history of drinking about seven or more alcoholic beverages per week were more at risk of having a high-grade prostate tumor.

The research also noted that these findings were true no matter at what age the person started drinking, as far as binge drinking was concerned. As stated by Emma Allott, who oversaw the study while a faculty member at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, said that this could be in ten years from now or even later. 

The study was published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research on August 23.


Alcohol can cause aggressive tumor (Pexels)


“There’s been relatively little progress in identifying risk factors for prostate cancer,” she said, as reported by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill News. "Other hormonally regulated cancers, like breast cancer, already have a known association with alcohol use. But the role that alcohol consumption may have in the development of prostate cancer, especially over the life course, isn’t as well understood, so it remains an important area of study,” she added.

The research was carried out by looking into survey data from 650 men at the time of prostate biopsy. It was found that men who consumed more than seven alcoholic drinks weekly as teenagers and in the decades that followed were at a higher risk to be diagnosed with high-grade prostate cancer as compared to men who reported no alcohol use during these years.

Heavy drinking in the teen years can be noted as one of the factors for aggressive prostate cancer (Pexels)


Prostate cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in men in the U.S. and is also the second leading cause of male cancer deaths. The statement from the researchers suggests that the prostate develops rapidly during puberty.

This is one of the main reasons why scientists believe that boys may be more susceptible to cancer-causing substances during their adolescent years. “We think that prostate cancer develops over the course of many years or even decades, so studies like ours are working toward a clearer understanding not only of what the specific risk factors are but how they may affect prostate biology at different stages of life,” Emma noted. 

As reported by Medical News Today, in 2017, the American Cancer Society predicted that around 161,360 new diagnoses of prostate cancer happened. Regular testing is crucial as cancer needs to be diagnosed before metastasis. It is treatable if diagnosed early before it spreads. Some of the symptoms of this are frequent urge to urinate, difficulty commencing and maintaining urination, blood in the urine. 

The prostate cancer starts in the glandular cells. Tiny changes occur in the shape and size of the prostate gland cells, known as prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia. This tends to be slow and does not show any signs until further into the progression. Nearly 50 percent of all men over the age of 50 years have this.