Who is at Risk for Prostate Cancer?

According to the American Cancer Society, the risk factors for prostate cancer are not completely understood. However, some risk factors do seem to be associated with developing prostate cancer.

The strongest risk factor for prostate cancer is age. In fact, the chance of having prostate cancer increases rapidly after age 50. Almost 2 out of 3 prostate cancers are found in men over 65.

Prostate cancer seems to run in some families, which suggests the disease may be inherited. If your father or brother has prostate cancer, or if your relatives were young when they were diagnosed with the disease, your risk increases.

A small number of cases of prostate cancer can be linked to several inherited genes that raise a man’s risk of developing this cancer. However, genetic testing is not yet available to detect these genes. More studies are needed before gene variation can be used to predict prostate cancer risk.

Prostate cancer occurs more often in African American men than in men of other races. African American men are also more likely than white men to be diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer.

Asian American and Hispanic/Latino men are less likely to get prostate cancer than are non-Hispanic white men. Researchers do not know why these differences occur among races and ethnicities.

The parts of the world where prostate cancer occurs most are North America, northwestern Europe, Australia, and the Caribbean islands. It is less common in Asia, Africa, Central America, and South America. This may be because of geographical differences in frequency of screening tests and differences in lifestyles, such as diet.

Diet may have an effect on prostate cancer, although it is not clear why. Men who eat a lot of red meat or high-fat dairy products have a slightly higher chance of developing prostate cancer than those who eat more fruits and vegetables. Talk with your doctor for ways to make your diet healthier.

Some studies suggest that obesity is not linked to a higher risk of prostate cancer. However, obese men do seem to have a higher risk of developing a more aggressive prostate cancer, such as advanced prostate cancer, and a higher risk of dying from this disease.

Exercise has not been shown to reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer. But some studies have shown that higher levels of physical activity, especially in older men, may lower the risk of advanced prostate cancer. Always talk with your doctor before starting an exercise program.

If you have one or more of these risk factors, talk with your doctor to learn what you can do to reduce your risk.