Drinking Even Small Amounts Of Alcohol Raises Risk Of Prostate Cancer

New research suggests that next time a man says he’s “dying for a drink,” he may be right.

Australian scientists have found that drinking just one pint of beer or two glasses of wine daily increases the risk of contracting prostate cancer by 23 percent.

That means that when it comes to cancer, there is no safe threshold for drinking, they warned.

Previous studies have suggested that only excessive drinking was likely to increase the risk of prostate cancer, which is the most common type of cancer in men.

But the new study shows that this misconception was based on flawed analyses that gave men a false sense of security.

To reach this conclusion, researchers from the University of Victoria analysed 26 previous scientific studies that linked the consumption of alcohol to prostate cancer.

They found that men who drank two to three units of alcohol daily (equivalent to about one pint of 5 percent strength beer or two 175ml glasses of wine) increased their risk of prostate cancer by 23 percent compared to those who had never consumed alcohol.

Even as little as half a pint of beer, or one glass of wine, a week increased the likelihood of contracting this type of cancer.

According to lead researcher Tim Stockwell: “For cancer risk, the causal processes appear to be operating whenever we drink, and to a degree directly relate to how much we consume and with no safe threshold.”

The risk was said to have been previously underestimated because many earlier studies put former drinkers in the same category as teetotallers.

This created a false impression, because many former drinkers stop or reduce their consumption of alcohol as they age and their health deteriorates. The reference group of non-drinkers was consequently unhealthier than it would have been if it only included teetotallers.

So when compared with the drinkers’ group, the risk from consuming alcohol appeared to be lower than it actually was.

Misclassifying former drinkers as so-called abstainers “disguised a significant association between alcohol exposure and risk of prostate cancer,” the Australian scientists said.

“This study contributes to the strengthening evidence that alcohol is a risk factor for prostate cancer. Consumption will need to be factored in to future estimates of the global burden of disease,” Dr Stockwell added.

Co-author Dr Tanya Chikritzhs said that the study, which was published in the online journal BMC Cancer, meant that previous research showing alcohol had a protective effect on health should be “treated with caution.”

It is not fully understood how alcohol triggers the growth of tumours in the prostate, but alcoholic drinks are known to contain carcinogens including acetaldehyde – nicknamed “the hangover chemical” – which is formed when alcohol is broken down in the liver and can damage cell DNA.

Read more: http://www.caribbean360.com/news/drinking-even-small-amounts-alcohol-raises-risk-prostate-cancer#ixzz4QxgcylaJ

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