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Are there any links between alcohol and prostate cancer?

A:

Quick Answer

Men who regularly consume alcohol heavily are potentially elevating their risk of prostate cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. Heavy consumption of alcohol also has the potential to reduce the preventive traits of finasteride, which some men take to decrease their prostate cancer susceptibility.

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Full Answer

Data from the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial, or PCPT, were used to make this conclusion, notes the American Cancer Society. This study analyzed the potential benefits of finasteride. Prior to the trial, finasteride helped men with enlarged prostates urinate more freely. The study found that finasteride led to a 25 percent reduction in the rate of prostate cancer.

A follow-up study of 10,920 men enrolled in PCPT looked at their drinking habits, explains the American Cancer Society. Men drinking over 50 grams of alcohol each day had an increased danger of developing the high-grade form of prostate cancer. This form is more aggressive than any other types of prostate cancer.

Fifty grams of alcohol is roughly the same as four glasses of wine or four beers, notes the American Cancer Society. Drinking heavily five or more days out of the week made the increase in risk even higher. Beer appeared to have a more severe effect than liquor or wine, but men also appeared to consume more beer at one sitting, which could explain the difference.

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