Prostate cancer - Risk factors

It is still not known exactly what causes prostate cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body., but there are some known risk factors. Having one or more of the risk factors listed below does not necessarily mean that you will get prostate cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body.. If you think you might be at risk, discuss this with your doctor.

Age

Prostate cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body. generally affects older men. The condition is rare in men under 50, and very rare in men under 40. The risk of prostate cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body. increases as you get older. A man has a one-in-fourteen chance of developing prostate cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body. in his lifetime.

It is thought that up to 30 per cent of men over 50 have some sign of cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body. in the prostate. This rises to 60-70 per cent of men over 80. Some men will never be aware that they have prostate cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body., and are more likely to die of another condition.

Family history of prostate cancer

You are more than twice as likely to get prostate cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body. if a close relation, particularly a father or brother, has had it. Also, if a close relative in your family has breast cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body., you may be at higher risk of prostate cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body..

This is because two genes that increase the risk of breast cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body. (BRCA1 and BRCA2) have been shown to increase the risk of prostate cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body. as well.

There is research involving these genes that may change the long-term future of prostate cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body. screening A way to identify people who may have a certain condition, among a group of people who may or may not seem to - see On the horizon.

Ethnicity

Some ethnic groups are more likely to develop prostate cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body. than others. Men of African origin have the highest risk, Caucasians are at medium risk, and south-east Asian men have the lowest risk.

Diet

There is some evidence that diet plays a role in the development of prostate cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body..

Diets that are high in animal fatOne of the three main food constituents (with carbohydrate and protein), and the main form in which energy is stored in the body. (red meat, dairy products, processed meats) and low in fruit and vegetables may increase the risk of many cancers, including prostate cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body..

High levels of calciumAn element that forms the structure of bones and teeth and is essential to many of the body's functions. (found in dairy products) have also been shown to increase the risk of prostate cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body..

See the prostate cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body. practical help page, Nutrition.


Diet is one of the aspects of their lifestyles that David, Rawle and Ray changed living with prostate cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body.

Hormones

Higher levels of testosterone, the male sex hormoneA substance produced by a gland in one part of the body and carried by the blood to the organs or tissues where it has an effect., are associated with an increased risk of prostate cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body.. There is a debate about testosterone replacement therapy and how it affects the growth of existing prostate cancerAbnormal, uncontrolled cell division resulting in a malignant tumour that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant parts of the body..

See the practical help feature, Hormone treatment - making a decision.