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Prostate cancer risk factors

Prostate cancer screenings make it possible to detect the cancer in early stages, before symptoms are present. Being aware of the risk factors can help you determine an appropriate prostate cancer screening schedule with your physician.

cancer risk

Prostate cancer risk factors

Some common risk factors for prostate cancer include:

GENERAL
  • Race: Studies show that African American men are approximately 60 percent more likely to develop prostate cancer in their lifetime than Caucasian or Hispanic men.
  • Age: The risk of developing prostate cancer increases with age. While only one in 10,000 men under age 40 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, one in 15 men in their 60s will be diagnosed with the disease.

GENETICS

  • Family history: Men with an immediate blood relative, such as a father or brother, who has or had prostate cancer, are twice as likely to develop the disease. If there is another family member diagnosed with the disease, the chances of getting prostate cancer increase.

LIFESTYLE

  • Diet: A diet high in saturated fat, as well as obesity, increases the risk of prostate cancer.
  • High testosterone levels: Men who use testosterone therapy are more likely to develop prostate cancer, as an increase in testosterone stimulates the growth of the prostate gland.

OTHER CONDITIONS

  • Prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN): This condition may be associated with increased risk of prostate cancer. PIN is a condition in which prostate gland cells look abnormal when examined with a microscope. It is not necessarily linked with any symptoms. Nearly one half of men will be diagnosed with PIN before age 50.
  • Genome changes: Certain genes have been known to elevate prostate cancer risks, such as BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.

Understanding risk factors

Anything that increases your risk of getting a disease is called a risk factor. Having a risk factor does not mean that you will get cancer. Not having risk factors doesn’t mean that you will not get cancer. If you think you may be at risk, you should discuss it with your doctor.

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