Consuming at least seven drinks of alcohol per week in your adolescence may increase the risk of high-grade prostate cancer later.
A new study has found that heavy alcohol intake at ages 15-19 was not associated with overall prostate cancer. However, consumption of at least seven drinks per week during this age increased 3.2 times the odds of high-grade prostate cancer.
“The prostate is an organ that grows rapidly during puberty, so it’s potentially more susceptible to carcinogenic exposure during the adolescent years,” said co-author Emma Allott, assistant professor at the University of North Carolinap.
“For this reason, we wanted to investigate if heavy alcohol consumption in early life was associated with the aggressiveness of prostate cancer later,” Allott added.
For the study published in the Cancer Prevention Research, the research team evaluated data from 650 men undergoing a prostate biopsy between January 2007 and January 2018.
These veterans had no prior history of prostate cancer, and their ages ranged from 49 to 89 years old. The population was racially diverse — 54 per cent of patients were non-white.
Men completed questionnaires which assessed the average number of alcoholic drinks consumed weekly during each decade of life to determine age-specific and cumulative lifetime alcohol intake.
Those who consumed at least seven alcoholic drinks per week at ages 20-29, 30-39, and 40-49, resulted in 3.14, 3.09, and 3.64 times the odds of high-grade prostate cancer, respectively, when compared with non-drinkers.
However, the current alcohol consumption was not significantly associated with high-grade prostate cancer, the researchers said.
The team also evaluated the association between cumulative lifetime alcohol consumption and prostate cancer diagnosis.
Compared with men in the lowest tertile of lifetime alcohol intake, those in the upper tertile had 3.2 times the odds of being diagnosed with high-grade prostate cancer at biopsy, the team said.