Prevention & Early Detection of Prostate Cancer

While we do not yet know what causes prostate cancer, we do know that there are risk factors for prostate cancer.


Risk Factors for Prostate Cancer

  • Age
    Four out of five cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed in men over 65, but less than 1 percent in men under 50. Though rare, prostate cancer can be seen in men even in their 30's and 40's.
  • Race
    African American men have a much higher incidence of prostate cancer than men of other races. They also tend to be diagnosed at an advanced stage of prostate cancer.
  • Family History 
    Men with a family history of prostate cancer are more likely to develop prostate cancer than the general population. Having a father or a brother with prostate cancer more than doubles your risk of developing this disease. Having several relatives with prostate cancer, especially if they were diagnosed at a young age. Men with a family history should discuss this with their physician and develop a screening schedule.
  • Genetics 
    Scientists have found several inherited genes that seem to raise prostate cancer risk, but they probably account for only five to ten percent of cases overall. Genetic testing for most of these genes is not yet available.

Risk factors are anything that affects your chance of developing a disease whether it be heart disease, cancer or something else. For example, excessive exposure to the sun is a risk factor for skin cancer; smoking is a risk factor for lung disease and many cancers.

However, risk factors don’t tell us everything! Many people who have no risk factors develop cancer, while others who have one or more risk factors never develop cancer.

 

Diminish Your Risk

We don't yet completely understand the causes of prostate cancer, but researchers have found several factors that change the risk of getting it. For some of these factors, the link to prostate cancer risk is not yet clear. Studies suggest that a diet high in processed meat or dairy foods may be a risk factor. Obesity appears to increase the risk of aggressive prostate cancer. Eating at least 2 ½ cups of fruit and vegetables daily, maintaining a healthy weight and staying physically active are things you can do to reduce your risk.