According to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in men in the United States, with around 1 in every 9 men receiving a prostate cancer diagnosis in their lifetime .
Although it’s not yet entirely clear what causes prostate cancer, there are some risk factors associated with prostate cancer, these include:
- Race and Ethnicity
- Family history
It’s important to keep in mind that having one or more of these risk factors does not guarantee that a person will develop prostate cancer.
What are the risk factors of prostate cancer?
Risk factors that can't be controlled
The risk of prostate cancer increases as you age. It’s estimated that around 6 in 10 cases of prostate cancer are found in men older than 65 .
Race and Ethnicity
For reasons that are not yet known, prostate cancer tends to be more common in African-American men and Caribbean men of African descent.
A family history of prostate cancer is one of the most significant risk factors. Having a close blood relative such as a father or brother with prostate cancer can more than double someone’s chances of developing this cancer.
See also: What Does High PSA Mean?
There are a number of gene mutations that can be passed from one generation to another and are found in all cells of the body. Several of these can potentially increase prostate cancer risk.
If a man has a family history of inherited mutations of the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes, which are linked to a risk of breast and ovarian cancer, the risk of prostate cancer may be higher .
Risk factors that can be controlled
Emerging evidence suggests that your eating habits can impact your risk of developing prostate cancer. Traditionally what you eat has been connected to conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and obesity but it has now been suggested that what you eat is also connected to your cancer risk, with some foods being carcino-preventative.
Some studies have suggested that consuming a lot of dairy products or calcium can increase a person’s chances of prostate cancer.
While further research is needed, it’s believed that smoking can increase a man’s prostate cancer risk. Not only that, but it’s also tied to more aggressive prostate cancer with one study with a sample group of over 4 million men finding that smokers had a 24% higher risk of dying from prostate cancer than non-smokers .
Can you lower your risk of prostate cancer?
While there is no surefire way to prevent prostate cancer, there are steps that can be taken that will benefit your overall health and may help with prostate cancer prevention.
Eat a healthy diet
According to Mayo Clinic, some studies suggest that a diet low in fat and full of fruits or vegetables might possibly lower risk for prostate cancer. With that in mind, there are some simple diet changes you can make to get started, these include:
- Opt for low-fat foods
- Increase fruit and vegetable intake
- Reduce dairy products
Maintain a healthy weight
Obesity is linked to an increased risk of prostate cancer. Sticking to a healthy weight and maintaining it through regular exercise and healthy eating can possibly lower prostate cancer risk and will definitely have a positive impact on your overall wellbeing!
Regularly screen for prostate cancer
Early and regular screening is key to finding and treating cancer early - before symptoms even begin to show. If abnormal tissues are found early enough, it can make it easier to treat.
If you smoke, there’s no time like the present to quit. Not only will it lower your risk of a number of different cancers, you will have more energy, younger-looking skin and even a better smell and taste!
See also: What Happens When you Quit Smoking?
When cancer is spotted in its early stages, it’s more likely that treatment will be successful and one of the most reliable ways to spot it early is with a screening test. It’s important to note that screening is recommended for people who have no symptoms at all. If you’re experiencing signs or symptoms, it’s important to speak with your doctor.
LetsGetChecked’s at-home PSA Test can measure the levels of prostate-specific antigen in the blood which may be elevated in prostate cancer, as well as in a number of other conditions. Test results will be available online within 2-5 days and our dedicated medical team will be available to answer any questions you may have throughout the process.
You should consider taking the test if:
- You are over the age of 50
- You have a strong family history of prostate cancer
- You are experiencing symptoms related to prostate cancer
- You are overweight or obese
- American Cancer Society. Prostate Cancer Key Statistics. Online: Cancer.org
- American Cancer Society. Prostate Cancer. Online: Cancer.org
- Mayo Clinic. Prostate Cancer. Online: Mayoclinic.org
- National Institutes of Health. Smoking as a Risk Factor for Prostate Cancer: A Meta-Analysis of 24 Prospective Cohort Studies. Online: Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, 2010