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Prostate cancer risk factors

Although the causes of prostate cancer are still unknown, a number of prostate cancer risk factors have been identified which may increase your chance of developing the disease. These include:

  • Age
    Age is by far the most significant risk factor and the highest incidence of prostate cancer occurs in men of 75 and over.
  • Ethnicity
    There are significant differences in the incidence of prostate cancer between ethnic groups. Cancer research UK publish the following data on this:
    White Males Incidence: 96 – 99.9 per 100,000 men
    Asian Males Incidence: 28.7-60.6 per 100,000 men
    Black Males Incidence: 120.8 – 247.9 per 100,000 men
  • Family history
    There are hereditary links with prostate cancer. The risks are higher for men with direct relatives such as fathers and brothers as well as second degree relatives (uncles, nephews, grandfathers, half-brothers etc.) who have also suffered with the illness.

    The hereditary association isn’t confined to male relatives. Men whose mothers have had breast cancer are also at a higher risk of developing prostate cancer.
  • Genetic factors
    A mutation in the BRCA2 gene (also associated with breast cancer) is known to increase the risk of prostate cancer in men who have the mutation.
  • Diet
    As with many cancers, there is increasing evidence that diet is a factor in the risk of developing the disease. With prostate cancer, diets high in calcium and cadmium are thought to increase risk.
  • Previous Cancers
    Men who have suffered other forms of cancer may be at increased risk of going on to develop prostate cancer.
  • Weight
    Increased Body Mass Index (BMI) has been found to contribute to the risk of developing prostate cancer and, as such, men should work to control their weight within a normal range.
  • Prostatitis
    Prostatitis is a generic term used to describe inflammation of the prostate, and has been shown to increase the risk of developing prostate cancer among men who have suffered from it. The risk of developing prostate cancer may be as much as 60-80% higher.
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