Risk Factors for Prostate Cancer

A risk factor is something about you that increases your chance of getting a disease or having a certain health condition. Some risk factors for prostate cancer you cannot change, but some you can. Changing the risk factors that you have control over will help you live a longer, healthier life.

Risk factors do not mean that you will get the disease. Many people who have these risk factors do not develop the disease and many who develop the disease did not have any of these risk factors.

The risk factors for prostate cancer are:

  • Age — The chance of developing prostate cancer increases after age 50. Almost two out of three prostate cancers are found in men over the age of 65. But there is still a need for screening in younger men, especially African-American men and those with prostate cancer in their families.
  • Race/ethnicity — Prostate cancer is more common in African-American men; it’s recommended they begin their screening at age 40.
  • Family history — Prostate cancer does run in some families. Men with a first-degree relative, such as a brother or father, diagnosed with the disease are more likely to get it themselves and should be tested starting at age 40.
  • Diet — Some studies show that a high-fat diet low in vegetables and fruits may have an impact on who gets prostate cancer. Men who eat a lot of red meat or high-fat dairy products seem to have a higher chance of developing the disease.
  • Obesity — Obese men are at a greater risk of developing prostate cancer than those who maintain a normal weight.

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