Are You Concerned About Your Drinking
Millions of people in the United States struggle with alcohol abuse or addiction. As someones drinking problem becomes worse, its common to worry about the potential health risks of your own drinking or that of someone you know. For people with a family history of prostate cancer or other risk factors, this concern can be even greater.
Our treatment specialists at Vertava Health offer free and confidential support 24/7 for people with questions about alcohol abuse or how to find an alcohol treatment program. If you are worried about your drinking, or that of a loved one, contact us today.
This page does not provide medical advice.
Types Of Cancer Caused By Drinking Alcohol
Doru Paul, MD, is triple board-certified in medical oncology, hematology, and internal medicine. He is an associate professor of clinical medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College and attending physician in the Department of Hematology and Oncology at the New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center.
It’s true that several types of cancer are caused by drinking alcohol. The health effects of drinking alcohol have been thoroughly researched and documented. While most people associate long-term alcohol use with liver problems, many are surprised that it is related to other chronic conditions, such as dementia, pancreatitis and even several types of cancer.
Liver, throat and esophageal cancer have the clearest association with chronic, long-term alcohol use, but other cancers have been indicated in studies as well. Tobacco use, combined with alcohol, greatly increases the risk of some cancers; the combination is a “perfect storm,” especially in cancers that affect the upper digestive tract .
In general, the more alcohol you drink the greater your risk, so even cutting down a bit can help.
Overall it’s felt that alcohol is the cause of 3.5% of cancer deaths in the United States. Given that 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women are expected to develop cancer over their lifetime, that’s not a small number.
How Does The Combination Of Alcohol And Tobacco Affect Cancer Risk
Epidemiologic research shows that people who use both alcohol and tobacco have much greater risks of developing cancers of the oral cavity, pharynx , larynx, and esophagus than people who use either alcohol or tobacco alone. In fact, for oral and pharyngeal cancers, the risks associated with using both alcohol and tobacco are multiplicative; that is, they are greater than would be expected from adding the individual risks associated with alcohol and tobacco together .
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How Does Alcohol Affect The Risk Of Cancer
Researchers have hypothesized multiple ways that alcohol may increase the risk of cancer, including:
- metabolizing ethanol in alcoholic drinks to acetaldehyde, which is a toxic chemical and a probable human carcinogen; acetaldehyde can damage both DNA and proteins
- generating reactive oxygen species , which can damage DNA, proteins, and lipids in the body through a process called oxidation
- impairing the bodyâs ability to break down and absorb a variety of nutrients that may be associated with cancer risk, including vitamin A; nutrients in the vitamin B complex, such as folate; vitamin C; vitamin D; vitamin E; and carotenoids
- increasing blood levels of estrogen, a sex hormone linked to the risk of breast cancer
The mechanisms by which alcohol consumption may decrease the risks of some cancers are not understood and may be indirect.
Prostate Cancer Risk Higher For Heavy Tea Drinkers
A new study from Scotland has found that men who are heavy tea drinkers may be at higher risk for prostate cancer. However, the researchers point out their study was not designed to find causes, so all they can say is that heavy tea drinking is linked to a higher risk for prostate cancer and not necessarily the cause of it.
Study leader Dr Kashif Shafique of the Institute of Health & Wellbeing at the University of Glasgow, told the media:
We dont know whether tea itself is a risk factor or if tea drinkers are generally healthier and live to an older age when prostate cancer is more common anyway.
Most previous research has shown either no relationship with prostate cancer for black tea or some preventive effect of green tea, said Shafique.
He and his colleagues write about the findings of their prospective study in a paper that was published online in the journal Nutrition and Cancer on 14 June.
The data they used covered 6,016 Scottish men aged from 21 to 75 years who were enrolled on the Midspan Collaborative study between 1970 and 1973 and were followed for up to 37 years.
The men had filled in questionnaires about their general health, smoking habits, and usual consumption of tea, coffee, and alcohol, and they also attended a screening examination.
When they analyzed the data the researchers found a statistically significant link between tea drinking and overall risk of developing prostate cancer.
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Why Is This Happening
Male anatomy includes a gland located between the bladder and penis that secretes prostatic fluid, meant to nourish sperm and provide protection for its journey out of the body. Running through the centre of this gland is the urethra, the tube whereby urine exits the body.
When prostate tissue starts to enlarge, it can put pressure on the urethra causing you to experience symptoms associated with a condition known as benign prostatic hyperplasia . The benign part is important to stress here as it indicates that BPH is a non-cancerous growth of tissue.
Are There Any Health Benefits From Drinking Alcohol
You may have heard that drinking alcohol can be good for the heart. But the NHS alcohol guidelines say that the evidence is not clear and that there is no completely safe level of drinking. You should not drink alcohol for health benefits. The risk of cancer increases even drinking small amounts of alcohol.
For more information about alcohol and heart health visit the;British Heart Foundations website.
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Milk And Prostate Cancer How Are They Linked
Many studies have suggested that drinking large amounts of milk may increase the risk of prostate cancer. However, these studies are prone to errors because its not always easy to accurately measure milk intake. It is also possible that other dietary or lifestyle factors that are different amongst men who consume large amounts of milk might be linked to prostate cancer, instead of milk itself.
To help us better understand the potential link between milk and prostate cancer, we explored the biological mechanisms that could explain this relationship.
Can Heavy Drinking Increase The Risk For Prostate Cancer
Alcohol and alcohol abuse has been linked to an increased risk for several types of cancers, including throat cancer, breast cancer, cancer of the esophagus, and others.
According to the Prostate Cancer Foundation and the American Cancer Society, this risk does not extend to prostate cancer. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has similarly stated that a link between alcohol use and prostate cancer is controversial.
Most research into alcohol use and prostate cancer has not shown a significantly increased risk in those who occasionally drinks.
There is some evidence, however, to suggest that heavy drinking may lead to somewhat greater risk. Occasional drinking is less likely to increase the risk of developing prostate cancer.
These research findings discovered an increased risk of prostate cancer in the following situations:
- drinking three or more alcoholic drinks per day on a regular basis
- older men with a previous history of heavy drinking
- drinking heavy amounts of hard liquor
Heavy drinking may not always lead to an increased risk for prostate cancer, but it will not decrease the risk. It can also worsen symptoms of those who have already been diagnosed with prostate cancer, and lead to other concerns such as alcohol dependence and addiction.
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Alcohol And The Prostate Gland: Friend Or Foe
Studies show moderate alcohol intake has surprising links to prostate disease.
Dr. Parsons is professor of urology, division of urologic oncology, department of urology, Moores UCSD Comprehensive Cancer Center, La Jolla, CA.
Patients have become voracious consumers of the medical literature. Each week, a flurry of new urology studies surface in the popular media to feed public interest. Many of the high-profile articles focus on prostate disease and lifestyle factors. Popular topics include associations of prostate cancer and BPH with diet, exercise, vitamins, and supplements. Many present contradictory results; all have the potential to provoke anxiety and/or confusion among our patients.
A recurring topic is alcohol. Excessive alcohol consumption is, of course, unhealthy and should be discouraged. But what about;moderate;alcohol intake, such as a glass of red wine each day? Is moderate alcohol intake beneficial or harmful to the prostate, or neither?
Numerous observational studies have addressed this question with respect to prostate cancer, BPH, and lower urinary tract symptoms . Here are some take-aways .
For prostate cancer, the answer appears to be: neither.
Are There Any Other Beverages Or Foods I Should Steer Clear Of Or Add To My Diet
Any other diuretics can stimulate the tissues of an already overactive bladder, including coffee and tea. While increasing fluid intake can help against lower UTI’s as it flushes the system out, it’s important to strike a balance where it doesn’t increase your urinary frequency too much when you’re already suffering from BPH.
Green tea has been shown to have benefits that protects against BPH due to its anti-inflammatory properties. In a blend with black tea, it was shown to increase the flow rate of urine, improve one’s sexual function and quality of life.
High-protein diets sourced mainly from animal proteins can also increase your risk of developing an enlarged prostate, so considering plant-based proteins may reduce your risk. Foods worth considering include those rich in lycopene, such as tomatoes, an antioxidant that helps with prostate health due to the high concentration of this substance in prostate tissues. Studies have shown it has the ability to slow the progression of BPH and improve symptoms as per the International Prostate Symptom Score questionnaire. A prospective cohort study demonstrated that those who consumed more tomato products, including sauce, experienced a 23% reduced risk of developing prostate cancer.
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Can Alcohol Mask Symptoms Of Prostate Cancer
Testing for elevated levels of prostate-specific antigen in blood plasma is one of the techniques used for diagnosing prostate cancer. A study on;Alcohol Consumption and PSA-detected Prostate Cancer Risk by NIH researchers found that excessive drinking can depress PSA levels, thus reducing the reliability of PSA based tests for heavy drinkers. Therefore, if the patient has a history of heavy drinking, other techniques like biopsy and medical imaging must be used to diagnose prostate cancer.
Heavy drinking can also contribute to many symptoms that overlap with prostate cancer. This can mask prostate cancer symptoms, make them worse, or potentially delay receiving appropriate treatment. These overlapping symptoms are:
- More frequent urination at night and weak urine flow
- Erectile dysfunction;
Effects On Other Harmful Chemicals
Alcohol may help other harmful chemicals, such as those in tobacco smoke, enter the cells lining the upper digestive tract more easily. This might explain why the combination of smoking and drinking is much more likely to cause cancers in the mouth or throat than smoking or drinking alone.
In other cases, alcohol may slow the bodys ability to break down and get rid of some harmful chemicals.
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Things To Know About Alcohol And Cancer
The American Cancer Society recently updated its guidelines for preventing cancer. Among the recommendations: Dont drink alcohol.
While no alcohol is best for cancer prevention, women who choose to drink anyway should have no more than one drink a day, and men no more than two drinks a day.
We spoke with Therese Bevers, M.D., medical director of MD AndersonsCancer Prevention Center, about the new alcohol guidelines and what they mean.
What is your reaction to these updated alcohol guidelines?
These updated guidelines bring the American Cancer Societys recommendations more in line with what we know about alcohol and cancer risk. They are also consistent with whats recommended by other organizations, including MD Anderson and the American Institute for Cancer Research.
We know that alcohol increases the risk for several cancers, including oral cancer, pharynx and larynx cancers, colorectal and esophageal cancers, as well as liver and breast cancers. What this recommendation says is that when it comes to your cancer risk, the less you drink, the better.
How does drinking alcohol increase a persons cancer risk?
There are many ways in which alcohol can increase a persons risk of cancer:
If alcohol is a carcinogen, why do you give serving recommendations?
We recognize that most Americans are not going to abstain from drinking alcohol completely. So, if they are going to drink, at least we can offer some guidance on what moderate drinking looks like.
Is It Worse If I Drink And Smoke
Drinking alcohol is worse for you if you smoke. This is because tobacco and alcohol work together to cause much more damage to cells. This increases the risk of cancer.
For example, people who both smoke and drink alcohol are at a higher risk of mouth and upper throat cancer. This can happen because:
- Alcohol may make it easier for harmful chemicals from tobacco smoke to pass through the mouth and throat into the bloodstream.
- Alcohol may change how the toxic chemicals from tobacco smoke are broken down in the body, making them even more harmful.;;
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How Can Alcohol Affect An Enlarged Prostate
Alcohol And Prostate Cancer
A;study on alcohol and cancer by the American Society of Clinical Oncology estimated that 3.5% of all cancer deaths in the US can be related back to alcohol consumption. These deaths are from many types of cancers. The study found that even moderate use of alcohol may increase the risk of many cancers; heavy and long term drinkers were at a higher risk than moderate ones.
An article dated September 2018 on;Alcohol and Cancer Risk;by the National Cancer Institute found that “for cancers of the ovary,;prostate, stomach, uterus, and bladder, either no association with alcohol use has been found or the evidence for an association is inconsistent”.
A;more recent study published in June 2019 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology on;Alcohol Intake and Risk of Lethal Prostate Cancer;found that drinking alcohol may be a risk reducer for prostate cancer. Comparing cancer-free alcohol users and non-users, the study found that the risk of prostate cancer was lower in drinkers than non-drinkers. And for men who already were suffering from prostate cancer, moderate use of red wine helped slow the progression of the disease. The researchers hailed from these institutions: Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA, Brigham Women’s Hospital in Boston, Harvard Medical School in Boston, and University of California in San Francisco, CA
Does this study prove that alcohol is a risk reducer for prostate cancer? No.
Does Coffee Reduce Prostate Cancer Risk
An increasing number of studies have reviewed the link between compounds in coffee and prostate cancer risk. As evidence increases. coffee is getting its share of the spotlight.
Recently, researchers from Kanazawa University Graduate School of Medical Science in Japan tested coffee compounds against prostate cancer in mice. Specifically, they used cells that were resistant to standard cancer drugs, such as cabazitaxel.
When they added kahweol acetate and cafestol to prostate cancer cells in a petri dish, the cells grew less rapidly.
We found that kahweol acetate and cafestol inhibited the growth of the cancer cells in mice, but the combination seemed to work synergistically, leading to significantly slower tumor growth than in untreated mice,
After 11 days, the untreated tumors had grown by around times the original volume , whereas the tumors in the mice treated with both compounds had grown by around just over times the original size. explains study leader, Dr. Hiroaki Iwamoto.