Prostate cancer is associated with a number of risk factors which make a man more likely to develop a disease.
Age: Prostate cancer occurs most often in men over the age of 65 and very rarely in men younger than 40. Therefore the risk of developing prostate cancer increases with age.
Race/Ethnicity: African American and Caribbean men with African ancestry are more likely to develop prostate cancer than other races and ethnicity. African ancestry doubles the risk of dying from prostate cancer. Other ethnic and racial groups develop prostate cancer less often.
Geography: Prostate cancer is more common in developed countries found in North America, Northwestern Europe, Australia, and the Caribbean islands. Generally, populations in Asia, Africa, Central and South America are less likely to develop prostate cancer.
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Family History: Most prostate cancer occurs in cases with no family history. However, having a brother with prostate cancer doubles a man’s risk of developing the disease. Men that have multiple family members with prostate cancer have an extremely high risk of developing prostate cancer.
Specific Genes: Scientists believe that there are certain genes which may account for a tiny increase in the risk of developing prostate cancer. One of these genes are the BRAC1/2 genes, which are known to increase the risk of breast and ovarian cancers. Scientists believe that they may also slightly increase the risk of prostate cancer in men. A second gene is the HNPCC, which causes Lynch Syndrome. Lynch syndrome increases the risk for developing numerous cancer types including prostate cancer.
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Other Potential Factors
Scientists have weakly associated certain lifestyle choices with the development of prostate cancer. It is important to note that these factors are not strongly proven and future studies are needed further verify their risk index.
Diet: Scientists have found that consuming red meat and high-fat dairy products have an increased risk of prostate cancer, while men that consume more fruits and vegetables have less of a chance of developing prostate cancer.
Smoking: Scientists have found that smoking does not increase the risk of prostate cancer, but may possibly increase the risk of dying from prostate cancer.
Vasectomy: Scientists have found that men who have a vasectomy have a slightly increased risk for prostate cancer. However, other studies have contradicted this claim and therefore more research will need to be done to confirm if vasectomies are indeed a risk factor.
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