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Blog author, Solai Buchanan is an experienced Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator with an MS from Columbia Teachers College. She specializes in treating heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, polycystic ovarian syndrome,and other chronic diseases. She is a provider at a full-service cardiology practice accepting most insurance and staffed with a primary care MD, pediatrician, and cardiologist. Call: 718.894.7907. NYCC is lead by Interventional Cardiologist Sanjeev Palta, MD, FSCAI, FACC. He trained at Cornell-Columbia Presbyterian Hospital and the State University Hospital of Brooklyn. He currently is an Attending Cardiologist at New York Methodist Hospital and Maimonides Medical Center. He is also an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center. Having performed over 2000 invasive cardiac procedures Dr. Palta’s patients know they are in trusted hands.

Thursday, December 8, 2016


A new review of existing studies finds that drinking alcohol raises the risk of prostate cancer.  Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in American men and the second leading cause of cancer deaths in men, preceded only by lung cancer.

When pooling the data of 27 existing studies, researchers found that even having 1-2 drinks a day significantly increases risk of prostate cancer and that as men's alcohol consumption increases, their level of prostate cancer risk also increases.    

Some previous analyses of the relationship between prostate cancer and alcohol consumption were inconclusive.  The researchers of the current study believe this was due to what they call “abstainer bias", the common practice in studies of categorizing former (sometimes heavy) drinkers who quit in the same group as people who never drank alcohol.  This has the result of underestimating the role that alcohol plays in disease.   

Alcohol consumption is an important risk factor for many types of cancer.  A causal relationship exists between alcohol consumption and cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, colon-rectum, liver, and female breast; a significant relationship also exists between alcohol consumption and pancreatic cancer, skin cancer, leukemia, and cancers of the cervix, vulva, and vagina. Evidence of exactly how drinking increases the risk of prostate cancer has not been established but researchers believe it may be due to alcohol's genotoxic effects, its role in elevating estrogen levels, and the changes it causes to how the body processes folate.

What to do:  Studies indicate even low levels of alcohol consumption increase prostate and many other cancers so no level of consumption is safe with it comes to cancer.  While moderate alcohol consumption does appear to be mildly cardioprotective, the American Heart Association does not recommend alcohol intake because it increases the risk of "high blood pressure, obesity, stroke, accidents, suicide, and cancer".  It recommends that if you drink alcohol, do so in moderation. This means an average of one to two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women. A drink is defined as one 12 oz. beer, 4 oz. of wine, 1.5 oz. of 80-proof spirits, or 1 oz. of 100-proof spirits.  Additionally, to help prevent prostate cancer, consume a healthy diet that's lower in meat and total fat and rich in a variety of fruits and vegetables (especially berries, tomatoes, and cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage and broccoli), beans and legumes, and omega-3 rich fish such as salmon.   

Adapted from articles available at:

Zhao J, Stockwell T, Roemer A, Chikritzhs T.  Is alcohol consumption a risk factor for prostate cancer? A systematic review and meta–analysis.  BMC Cancer 2016 16:845.  Published online 15 November 2016.  DOI: 10.1186/s12885-016-2891-z