Thursday, March 19, 2009

Heavier drinking linked to increased risk of prostate cancer

NBR staff Monday March 16 2009 - 04:43pm

People who are heavier drinkers are much more likely to develop prostate cancer, according to a new international study.
A research team from Australia, Canada and the U.S. reviewed 35 studies examining the relationship between alcohol and prostate cancer risk to discover that people who consume more than 14 drinks per week - heavier drinkers – are roughly 20% more likely to develop prostate cancer than light drinkers.
Medicine Hat News reports study co-author and University of California professor Kaye Fillmore saying, "It's a real killer. It certainly is in Canada and the United States.
"It's a real problem in the scientific community because all of the candidates we typically look at to predict diseases of this nature, like smoking, diet and exercise and exposure to chemicals, they have not produced very good results," says Fillmore.

"They've been inconsistent for the most part and it leaves us with a real problem that there is nothing that men can actually do in terms of changing their habits to prevent this disease."
Five researchers looked at 35 studies on the subject, including cohort studies which measure people at a point in time, before later re-measuring to see if smoking, drinking or exercise is associated with the disease’s prevalence.
"Prostate cancer develops typically and kills typically in men who are middle-aged and older, and in the developing world as longevity increases they are getting higher incidences of prostate cancer," professor Fillmore said to Medicine Hat News.
Co-author Tim Stockwell, director of the University of Victoria (Canada) noted there is continuing controversy about just how much alcohol contributes to various cancers.
There are some schools of thought that argue that one or two drinks a day for men gives maximum protection against heart disease says Mr Stockwell, but such information is confusing to the general population.
"We've actually disputed that (moderate 'protective' drinking) but it's an example of confusing information because the same level that might give you protection against heart disease is also beginning to increase your risk of cancer, many cancers", he says.

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