Prostate Cancer Risk Factors

Some risk factors can influence how prostate cancer develops while others may have no correlation to the causing prostate cancer at all. Although it is not completely understood as to what the causes of prostate cancer are, researchers have found several factors that might have an effect on a man’s risk of developing prostate cancer. While we can eliminate factors such as smoking, a number of these influential elements cannot be changed at all.

So who exactly has the highest risk of getting prostate cancer and why? Take a look at the potential risk factors linked to prostate cancer.

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    In theory, all men are at risk for developing prostate cancer. However, the older you are the more likely you are to be diagnosed with prostate cancer. It is very rare in men under the age of 40 (where the rate of prostate cancer is only 1 in 10,000) however, the rate of men diagnosed with prostate cancer rapidly increases up to 1 in 38 for men ages 40 to 59 and even higher to 1 in 14 for ages 60 to 69. Statistically speaking, men over the age of 65 represent over 65% of all men diagnosed with prostate cancer. However, this does not completely eliminate men in their 30s or even younger from being at risk for prostate cancer.

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    African-American and Caribbean men of African ancestry are more likely to develop prostate cancer compared to Asian-American, Hispanic/Latino, and Caucasian men. In fact, African-American men are about 60% more likely to develop prostate cancer in their lifetime than compared to Hispanic/Latino or Caucasian men. At the same time, African-American and Caribbean men of African ancestry are also twice as likely to die of prostate cancer. The logic for these racial and ethnic differences is not yet clear.

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    Where you live can have an immense effect on the risk of developing prostate cancer. Men who reside in North America, northwestern Europe, Australia, and the Caribbean Islands are of higher risk for developing prostate cancer, and it is less common for men in Asia, Africa, Central America, and South America. For example, the risk of developing prostate cancer in men residing in the United States is 17% versus the 2% risk for men living in rural China. However, when men from countries like China move to western culture, their risk for developing prostate cancer substantially increases. The factors that contribute to these drastic changes in the risk of prostate cancer have yet to be determined.

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    Like with many diseases, prostate cancer can run in some families. A man with a brother or father who has or has had prostate cancer is more than twice as likely to develop prostate cancer versus a man with no family history of prostate cancer. If three or more family members have been diagnosed with prostate cancer, the risk of developing prostate cancer increases even further. If you are a man who has multiple family members who are or have been affected by prostate cancer, you should begin screening at the age of 40 as current studies show 5-10% of prostate cancer cases are heredity in form.

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    Several diet-related factors have been studied over the years to better understand its role in affecting the risk of developing prostate cancer. Men who eat rice, vegetables, and soybean products have shown to be less likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer whereas men who tend to eat a significant amount of red meat or high-fat dairy products appear to have a higher chance of developing prostate cancer. However, these men also tend to eat lower amounts of fruits and vegetables so doctors and scientists have not made conclusive findings as to which of these factors are truly responsible for raising the risk of prostate cancer.

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