Alcohol and Prostate Cancer
Cancer of the prostate gland is the most common form of cancer in men in the United States 1 with almost 200,000 men being diagnosed with the disease each year. 2 Much is unknown about the disease, but the medical consensus is that drinking alcohol is not a risk factor for prostate cancer.
After carefully analyzing the scientific medical research evidence, the Prostate Cancer Foundation, 3 the National Cancer Institute, 4 the American Society of Clinical Oncology, 5 the Mayo Clinic 6 and other medical organizations have concluded that consuming alcohol (beer, wine or distilled spirits) does not increase the risk of developing prostate cancer.
There are usually not any symptoms in the early stages of prostate cancer. That's why men should regularly receive a physical examination and blood test to detect the disease in its early stages.
However, symptoms that might indicate prostate cancer include
Frequent urination, especially at night
Difficulty starting or stopping urination
Weak or interrupted flow of urine
Blood in urine or semen
Difficulty in having erections
Frequent pain or stiffness in lower back, hips, or upper thighs 7
These symptoms do not necessarily indicate the presence prostate cancer. However, a physician should be consulted whenever any of these symptoms occur.
Drinking alcohol is not a risk factor for developing prostate cancer. On the other hand, the moderate consumption of alcohol is associated with better health and greater longevity than is either abstaining from alcohol or drinking abusively.
Drinking in moderation has been described by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) as a man consuming four drinks on any day and an average of 14 drinks per week.
A standard alcoholic drink is:
- A 12-ounce can or bottle of regular beer
- A 5-ounce glass of dinner wine
- A shot (one and one-half ounces) of 80 proof liquor or spirits such as vodka, tequila, or rum either straight or in a mixed drink.
Standard drinks contain equivalent amounts of alcohol. To a breathalyzer, they're all the same.
There is no evidence that any particular form of alcoholic beverage (beer, wine, or distilled spirits) confers greater health benefits than any other.
Note: This website provides no recommendations for drinking alcohol and prostate cancer or for any other health or medical matter and none should be inferred.
- 1. Dennis, L.K. Meta-analysis for combining relative risks of alcohol consumption and prostate cancer. The Prostate, 2000, 42(1), 56-66.
- 2. Prostate Cancer. http://www.cancer.net/patient/Cancer+Types/Prostate+Cancer
- 3. http://www.prostatecancerfoundation.org/atf/cf/%7B705B3273-F2EF-4EF6-A653-E15C5D8BB6B1%7D/IntroProstateCancer.pdf
- 4. Prostate Cancer. http://www.prostatecancerfoundation.org/atf/cf/%7B705B3273-F2EF-4EF6-A653-E15C5D8BB6B1%7D/IntroProstateCancer.pdf
- 5. Prostate Cancer Risk Factors & Prevention. http://www.cancer.net/patient/Cancer+Types/Prostate+Cancer?sectionTitle=Risk%20Factors%20and%20Prevention
- 6. Prostate Cancer risk Factors. http://mayoclinic.com/health/prostate-cancer/DS00043/DSECTION=risk-factors7 Prostate Cancer symptoms. http://www.prostatecancerfoundation.org/site/c.itIWK2OSG/b.271349/k.87DD/Prostate_Cancer_Symptoms.htm
Readings about Drinking Alcohol and Prostate Cancer Risk:
- (note: listing does not imply endorsement)
- Albertsen, K. and Gronbaek, M. Does amount or type of alcohol influence the risk of prostate cancer? The Prostate, 2002, 52(4), 297-304.
Baglietto, L., et al. Alcohol consumption and prostate cancer risk: results from the Melbourne collaborative cohort study. International Journal of Cancer. Journal International du Cancer, 20096, 119(6), 1501-1504.
Barba, M., et al. Lifetime total and beverage specific alcohol intake and prostate cancer risk: a case-control study. Nutritional Journal, 2004, 3, 23.
Chang, E., et al. Alcohol drinking and risk of localized versus advanced and sporadic versus familial prostate cancer in Sweden. Cancer Causes and Control, 2005, 16(3), 275-284.
Crispo, A., et al. Alcohol and the risk of prostate cancer and benign prostatic hyperplasia. Urology, 2004, 64(4), 717-722.
Dennis, L.K. and Hayes, R.B. Alcohol and prostate cancer. Epidemiology Reviews, 2001, 23(1), 110-114.
Ellison, L.F. Tea and other beverage consumption and prostate cancer risk: a Canadian retrospective cohort study. European Journal of Cancer Prevention, 2000, 9(2), 125-130.
Fillmore, K.M, et al. Alcohol use and prostate cancer: A meta-analysis. Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, 2009, 53(2), 240-255.
Platz, E.A., et al. Alcohol intake, drinking patterns, and risk of prostate cancer in a large prospective cohort study. American Journal of epidemiology, 2004, 159(5), 444-453.
Rohrmann, S., et al. Alcohol Consumption and the Risk for Prostate Cancer in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, & Prevention, 2008, 17(5), 1282.
Schoonen, W.M., et al. Alcohol consumption and risk of prostate cancer in middle-aged men. International Journal of Cancer, 2005, 113(1), 133-140.
Velicer, C., et al. Alcohol Use and the Risk of Prostate Cancer: Results From the VITAL Cohort Study. Nutrition and Cancer, 2006, 56(1), 50-56.