Some scientists have looked at links between alcohol intake and the risk of prostate cancer. However, more research is necessary to determine a correlation.
The prostate is part of the male reproductive system and sits just below the bladder. It surrounds the urethra, a tube that carries urine out of the body, and helps make semen.
In this article, we cover prostate cancer’s symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment, and consider its possible links with alcohol consumption.
A note about sex and gender
Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. Click here to learn more.
According to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, there is currently no direct association between drinking alcohol and an increased risk of prostate cancer.
The results of a 2018 study indicate there is an association between a person’s alcohol consumption earlier in life and their risk of developing prostate cancer later in life. However, this study only examined men who required a prostate biopsy and found no association between current alcohol consumption and prostate cancer risk.
In all of these studies, the researchers highlight the need for further investigation into the effects of alcohol on prostate cancer risk. These studies only show a minor association between alcohol and prostate cancer and do not show that alcohol causes prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer is unlikely to cause symptoms until a later stage. Screening is a valuable tool that doctors use to spot initial signs of disease in people with risk factors.
Symptoms a person may occasionally experience include:
- needing to urinate more often than usual, especially at night
- difficulty urinating
- pain or a burning feeling when passing urine
- blood in their urine or semen
- difficulty achieving an erection
- pain when ejaculating
- pain or stiffness in their rectum, lower back, hips, or pelvis
High consumption of alcohol can also make a person urinate more than usual and have difficulty achieving an erection. People might mistake both of these symptoms for early symptoms of prostate cancer.
People with cancer who take steps to maintain their health and strength tend to endure cancer treatments better.
- eating a well-balanced diet that
includesa variety of fruits and vegetables and limits red and processed meats
- exercising regularly
- taking time to relax and unwind
- avoiding alcohol or drinking in moderation
Alcohol can sometimes interact with medications and stop them from working or cause side effects. In addition, the
It is best to speak with a doctor about consuming alcohol before undergoing radiation therapy or other cancer treatments.
Prostate cancer can affect any male, but several factors appear to increase the risk.
Possible risk factors include:
- older age, as most cases occur after
50 yearsof age
- being a Black American male
- a family history of prostate, breast, ovarian, or pancreatic cancer
- persistently high testosterone levels
- low activity levels
- having obesity
- exposure to Agent Orange
- high blood pressure
- a history of chlamydia, gonorrhea, or syphilis
- a diet high in saturated fats and red meat may increase the risk
Racial inequity and prostate cancer
The risk for Black Americans developing prostate cancer is about
In addition, Black American males are more likely to develop prostate cancer at a younger age, when it is more aggressive, making them twice as likely to die from prostate cancer as males from other groups.
They are also more likely to receive a diagnosis at a later stage, according to the
It is unclear why this happens, but
Anyone with a prostate gland can develop prostate cancer, including trans women and nonbinary people. However, it may be harder to diagnose for the following reasons:
- feminizing hormones can reduce prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels, making them unreliable when testing for prostate cancer
- urinary problems may not appear if hormone treatments have reduced the prostate’s size
- a doctor may not discuss prostate cancer if the person does not inform the doctor of their gender
- reconstructive surgery could lead to similar symptoms, such as pain and urinary problems
It is essential for trans women and nonbinary people to discuss their risks with a healthcare professional they trust to help them plan for screening, if appropriate.
Here are some answers to questions people often ask about prostate cancer and alcohol.
Does drinking affect your risk of prostate cancer?
There is not enough evidence to confirm that drinking affects the risk of prostate cancer, although it can affect overall health.
Does alcohol affect your PSA levels?
Can you drink alcohol if you have prostate cancer?
Moderate alcohol consumption is
More research is necessary to establish whether alcohol consumption impacts prostate cancer risk. Meanwhile,
For people with a diagnosis of prostate cancer, drinking in moderation appears to be safe generally. However, alcohol may interact with medication or other treatments, so people should check with a doctor before drinking alcohol to avoid harmful interactions.
Some lifestyle changes can improve a person’s experience during treatment for prostate cancer. These changes may include avoiding alcohol, exercising more, and eating a varied diet.