The Effects of Alcohol on Prostate Cancer
A lot of guys drink alcohol and a lot of guys get prostate cancer. Is there a connection between the two? There’s been a lot of research done to find out, and there are some possible links.
Before I get into that, I should explain what the prostate is and why prostate health is important. The prostate is part of the male reproductive system. It helps to create semen, and it’s located just below the bladder. It surrounds the urethra, which is the tube that carries urine out of the body. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the United States, after skin cancer.
Possible links between alcohol and prostate health
A 2016 study found that men who consume alcohol might have a higher risk of developing the disease than those who abstain, with the risk level increasing in line with the amount they drank. Another study, conducted in 2018, found a link between a man’s alcohol consumption earlier in life and their risk of developing prostate cancer at a later date. However, the men in the study were responsible for disclosing how much they drank, and so there was no way of confirming the results. In addition, the heavy drinkers were more likely to be smokers as well, which might also have affected the results.
Other issues to consider
While I think it’s possible there’s a connection between heavy drinking and cancer, I think that most men get prostate cancer due to other issues, such as age, obesity and genetics. I also think that drinking too much can cause a wide range of health problems, including several that are related to the brain and liver. Prostate cancer can also cause serious health problems, even though it tends to grow very slowly.
All men over the age of 55 should get screened for prostate health issues at least once a year, so that if you have a problem, you can get treated before it causes symptoms or interferes with your health. The main way of getting screened for prostate cancer is by having a blood test called a prostate-specific antigen test, also known as a or PSA test. If the test shows a high PSA level in your blood, you might need to have a simple procedure to get a tissue sample for cancer testing.
Possible warning signs for prostate problems
There are several ways that you can tell if you have an unhealthy prostate. Here are a few of the most common:
- a need to urinate frequently, especially at night
- difficulty urinating
- pain or a burning sensation when urinating
- blood in the urine or semen
- difficulty achieving an erection
- pain when ejaculating
- pain or stiffness in the rectum, lower back, hips, or pelvis
Of course, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can make a person urinate more than usual and interfere with achieving an erection. So if you drink too much, cut down on the alcohol and see if the symptoms continue.
What about drinking after being diagnosed with prostate cancer?
A related question that some men ask is whether it’s OK to drink alcohol if they’ve been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Again, the research on this topic has been inconclusive, but it’s important to remember that maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help aid successful treatment. If you’re fighting cancer of any kind, staying healthy can help your cancer treatment to be effective.
Everything in moderation
Eating healthy, maintaining food portion control, doing regular exercise, and taking time to relax and unwind is essential. Being healthy includes drinking in moderation – and by that I mean limiting yourself to one or two drinks per day. If you’re on any kind of medication (including medication for an enlarged prostate), ask your physician if drinking could stop your medication from working or cause side effects. And if you’re undergoing radiation it can make you tired and nauseous. Alcohol can make these symptoms worse.