Monday, 4 January 2010

Heavy Drinking Raises Prostate Cancer Risk

Aggressive tumours are more likely to occur in men who have more than four drinks a day at least five times a week.

Men who drink heavily may be raising their risk of developing prostate cancer, researchers said in a recent study.

In addition, the study found that the drug finasteride, which can help lower a man’s risk of the disease, appears to be unable to undo the damage of heavy drinking.

The findings come from a clinical trial which looked at whether finasteride lowered the risk of prostate cancer in nearly 11,000 men over seven years.

Of the men, 2,219 were diagnosed with prostate cancer and 8,791 remained cancer-free throughout the study.

The researchers found that men who drank heavily – four or more drinks a day on at least five days of a week – were twice as likely as non-drinkers to develop aggressive prostate tumours.

The risk was seen in men who received finasteride and those given a placebo.

In addition, when it came to less aggressive, slower-growing prostate tumours, finasterife cut non-drinkers’ and moderate drinkers’ risk by 43 per cent. The drug did nothing, however, for heavier drinkers.

The findings of the study, led by Dr Zhihong Gong of the University of California at San Francisco, were reported in the Journal Cancer.

Many of the established risk factors of prostate cancer cannot be controlled, such as age, race and family history of the disease.

Only a handful of suspected risk factors – including obesity, smoking and a high intake of animal fat – can be modified, the researchers said.

They added that more studies should be done to confirm the findings.

For now, they wrote, “physicians may choose to consider this finding when counselling men on reducing their risk of prostate cancer”.

They said that it would also be prudent for men on finasteride to limit themselves to no more than two or three drinks a day.

- Reuters 

No comments: