Alcohol consumption in adolescence risky for the health of the prostat

New Delhi, 26th August 2018: Consuming at least seven drinks of alcohol per week during adolescence can increase the risk of high grade prostate cancer later, as per a new study. published in Cancer Prevention Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Heavy alcohol intake between the age of 15 and 19 increased the odds of this condition by 3.2 times. The prostate grows rapidly during puberty and is potentially more susceptible to carcinogenic exposure during the adolescent years.

Alcohol is linked to prostate cancer but with this study one may interpret that the effect of alcohol comes from a lifetime intake, or from intake earlier in life rather than alcohol patterns around the time of diagnosis of prostate cancer. Those who heavily consumed alcohol early in life typicallyare likely to continue to drink heavily throughout their entire life

Prostate cancer occurs when abnormal cells develop in the prostate. These continue to multiply in an uncontrolled way and can also spread outside the prostate into nearby or distant parts of the body. Although the condition is curable, it can become life threatening if not appropriately managed on time.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Prostate cancer usually starts in the glandular cells and is known as adenocarcinoma. Tiny changes occur in the shape and size of the prostate gland cells. This happens slowly and does not show symptoms until it progresses further. This cancer most commonly spreads to the bones. Staging takes into account the size and extent of the tumor and the scale of the metastasis (whether it has traveled to other organs and tissues). At Stage 0, the tumor has neither spread from the prostate gland nor invaded deeply into it. At Stage 4, the cancer has spread to distant sites and organs.”

Some symptoms of prostate cancer include frequent or sudden need to urinate; discomfort when urinating; blood in urine or semen; and pain in the lower back, upper thighs or hips.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “Various methods can be used for screening and diagnosis. Most important of them for screening high risk patients is the blood levels of prostate specific antigen. Other methods include rectal examination, CT, MRI, bone scan. Treatment options include radiation therapy and prostatectomy.”

This will be one of the points of discussion during the 25th MtNL Perfect Health Mela from 24th to 28th October 2018, at the Talkatora Indoor Stadium, New Delhi where over 7500 adolescents will be participating in various competitions.

Since the cause of prostate cancer is not known in most cases, there is no sure way of prevention except certain lifestyle changes.

  • Get to and stay at a healthy weight.
  • Indulge in regular physical activity.
  • Limit your intake of high-calorie foods and drinks.
  • Eat at least 2½ cups of vegetables and fruits each day.
  • Choose whole grains instead of refined grain products.
  • Limit the intake of processed meat and red meat.
  • Limit the alcohol intake to no more than 2 drinks per day.
  • Reduce intake of dairy foods and diets rich in calcium.