Who is at risk for developing prostate cancer?
The cause of prostate cancer is unknown at this time. Many factors increase the likelihood of developing prostate cancer.
Age. Prostate cancer is uncommon in patients under 50 years old. More than 80% of all prostate cancer patients are older than 65. It is known that the chance of developing prostate cancer is higher in males older age of 50. It is recommended that these individuals undergo annual PSA screening test and Digital Rectal Exam.
Family History. Prostate cancer may have a genetic link. Human gene related to the disease has not been discovered, however. Male patients with positive family history of prostate cancer in the father or brother have much higher risk (two to seven fold increase) of developing prostate cancer. The risk gets even higher if several relatives have been affected, especially if they were young at the time of diagnosis.
Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy (BPH). Many elderly males are diagnosed with BPH. Studies have shown that BPH is not related to higher risk of developing prostate cancer. However, patients with BPH is recommended to have annual PSA test and Digital Rectal Exam for screening purposes.
Diet. High fat diet may increase the risk of developing prostate cancer. The results of most studies have confirmed this finding. Whether fatty food intake is an increased risk factor, or decreased fruits and vegetables intake in men who eat higher fat diets is the cause, is still unknown.
Recent studies have shown that a diet high in lycopenes (found in higher levels in fruits and vegetables), Vitamin E, and selenium may lower the risk of developing prostate cancer.
Ethnicity. Prostate cancer is most common in northwestern Europe, especially in Sweden and Denmark. It is also common in North America. It occurs less frequently in Japan, China, and other countries in Asia, Central America and South America.
Race. Prostate cancer is twice as common among African-American males as it is among Caucasian Americans. The risk among oriental males remains low. Corrected for stage, African-American patients also have lower survival rates.
Vasectomy. Multiple studies have been performed to study the topic, but the results are inconsistent. There are studies showing that vasectomy can increase the risk of developing prostate cancer by a 50%. However, this has not been firmly established.
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