Risk Factors For Prostate Cancer
According to the American Cancer Society, the National Institutes of Health, the National Cancer Institute, and the Prostate Cancer Foundation, prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in America, affecting 1 in 6 men.
The older you are, the more likely you are to be diagnosed with prostate cancer. Although only 1 in 10,000 under age 40 will be diagnosed, the rate rises to 1 in 38 for ages 40 to 59, and 1 in 15 for ages 60 to 69. In fact, more than 65% of all prostate cancers are diagnosed in men over the age of 65. While there is no one factor that positively confirms who will or will not develop prostate cancer, there are a number of signs that physicians look for when determining if a man is at higher risk:
- Age: The strongest risk factor – it is very rare before the age of 40, but the chance of having prostate cancer rises rapidly after age 50. Almost 2 out of 3 prostate cancers are found in men over the age of 65.
- Race/ethnicity: Prostate cancer occurs more often in African-American men than in men of other races. African-American men are also more likely to be diagnosed at an advanced stage, and are more than twice as likely to die of prostate cancer as white men. Prostate cancer occurs less often in Asian-American and Hispanic/Latino men than in non-Hispanic whites. The reasons for these racial and ethnic differences are not clear.
- Nationality: Prostate cancer is most common in North America, northwestern Europe, Australia, and on Caribbean islands. It is less common in Asia, Africa, Central America, and South America. The reasons for this are not clear. For example, lifestyle differences (diet, etc.) may be important: men of Asian descent living in the United States have a lower risk of prostate cancer than white Americans, but their risk is higher than that of men of similar backgrounds living in Asia. • Family history and genes: Prostate cancer seems to run in some families, which suggests that in some cases there may be an inherited or genetic factor. Having a father or brother with prostate cancer more than doubles a man’s risk of developing this disease. Scientists also have found several inherited genes that seem to raise prostate cancer risk.
- Diet: The exact role of diet in prostate cancer is not clear, although there have been findings that men who eat a lot of red meat or high-fat dairy products appear to have a slightly greater chance of getting prostate cancer. These men also tend to eat fewer fruits and vegetables. Some studies suggest that men who consume a lot of calcium (through food or supplements) may have a higher risk of developing advanced prostate cancer. The best approach when it comes to diet is to consume a varied diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat proteins.
- Obesity: Being excessively overweight has been linked to an increased risk of dying from prostate cancer. Although obese men have been shown to have a lower risk of developing slower-growing prostate cancer, they are more likely to develop a faster-growing form. In addition to being a cancer risk factor, being overweight is a contributing factor to heart disease, osteoarthritis, diabetes and a number of other dangerous conditions.
- Inflammation of the prostate: Inflammation associated with the prostate gland (also called prostatitis) may be linked to an increased risk of prostate cancer, but there is no definitive link. Similarly, sexually transmitted diseases and other infections have not been definitively found to be risk indicators.
- Vasectomy: While there had been concern raised in several studies that having a vasectomy increased risk slightly, additional research has not found any real risk associated with the procedure.
- Sexual Activity: High levels of sexual activity or frequent ejaculation have been rumored to increase prostate cancer risk. This is untrue. In fact, studies show that men who reported more frequent ejaculations had a lower risk of developing prostate cancer.