Knowing personal risk factors for cancer is very important. Often, there may be recommendations for reducing risk and screening recommendations may differ according to an individual’s known risk factors.
Several risk factors for prostate cancer have been identified. They include:
- Age: Prostate cancer is much more common in men over the age of 50. Two-thirds of all diagnoses occur in men over 65.
- Family History: Some prostate cancers have a strong genetic component that is passed down from one generation to the next. While this is not true of all prostate cancers, a man’s risk doubles if his father or brother has had prostate cancer.
- Race: African American men have a higher likelihood of developing prostate cancer than white American men, and are also more likely to be diagnosed at a later stage of the disease. Hispanic men develop prostate cancer at similar rates to white men, while Asian men have a lower occurrence. While studies have shown these trends, it is not know why these differences exist.
- Diet: Studies have found that men who eat a lot of red meat have a slightly higher risk of developing prostate cancer. However, the same men tend to eat fewer fruits and vegetables, so the specific cause of the increased risk has not been determined.