Medical Associations Between Acne And Prostate Cancer


According to a Swedish study published in the International Journal of Cancer in 2017, investigators reported that acne in late adolescence has association with a statistically-significant greater risk for prostate cancer as compared not having acne during the period of latter teen years. Using a unique, long-term data set from Sweden’s military, the analysis is the first population-based study on a large scale that uses clinically diagnosed acne to test the theory in which the skin condition may have ties to prostate cancer.

The Data

Long-term health data on over 243,000 young men were reviewed, most of whom were conscripted into the military during the 1970s, as 18 and 19 year olds. One of the many conditions evaluated and recorded at the time of conscription was acne. During a median follow-up of 36.7 years, led by urologist Dr Henrik Ugge, MD, there were 1,633 men diagnosed with prostate cancer, with 2 men having severe acne.

While the figure is much lower as compared to the general population of adolescences in Western countries, it is aligned with other findings on acne in similar settings.

A tie between acne and prostate cancer risk

These also add to amassed evidence which suggest that Propionibacterium acnes, commonly associated with acne vulgaris, may have a role in prostate carcinogenesis. P acnes is part of the normal flora of the large intestine, skin, and other organs, but it may become pathogenic. These bacteria have been linked to the presence of inflammatory foci in prostate cancer and identified as the most prevalent microorganism.

Another cohort study used collected data prospectively and it reported an increased prostate cancer risk for men who were prescribed tetracycline treatment for severe acne, and for more than 4 years. The phenomenon of prostate tissue inflammation which may be tied to the development of prostate cancer is also more recognised. Bacterial infection like P acnes is a potential elicitor of inflammation.

Dr Ugge believes the link will continue over time. While the finding only holds for development of prostate cancer at a younger age, there is a previous epidemiological study with follow-up to a higher age that observed similar results. As such, this suggests the ties may also be generalizable to later ages.

Acne Treatment

While more research is needed to further explore the possible link between acne and prostate cancer, it is recommended to properly and effectively treat your acne to avoid worsening it. Whether you have mild or severe acne, you can find the best aesthetic clinics in Singapore to meet your needs.

Our team of aesthetic doctors are qualified in aesthetic procedures as well as in treating skin-related problems like acne. If you have been trying various over-the-counter treatments with little satisfactory results, there are other acne treatments available including laser acne scar removal to get rid of those stubborn marks. Our range of laser treatments for acne includes VBeam laser treatment, fractional co2 laser and AGNES treatment as a solution for your acne problems. Schedule your appointment with us today.

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