New research from the University of Illinois in Chicago suggests that fetal exposure to a commonly used chemical which is found in products such as water bottles, soup can liners and paper receipts, can increase the risk of prostate cancer later in life.
Exposure of the fetus to the chemical BPA in utero has been linked to several kinds of cancer, including prostate cancer, in rodent models in the past. The new findings show that human prostate tissue could also be susceptible.
Dr Iain Frame, Director of Research at Prostate Cancer UK said:
"The safety of BPA has long been a contentious topic of debate and this is not the first time that it has been linked to some types of cancer. However, research in this area is fraught with difficulties because it relies solely on testing the impact of the chemical in cell or animal models. It is therefore difficult to draw conclusions as to what might happen in real-life and as such we cannot make a definitive link between BPA exposure and prostate cancer in later life based on the results of this study.
This study highlights that much more needs to be done to identify the lifestyle and environmental factors that put men more at risk of prostate cancer so that we can start to reduce the number of deaths from the disease."