Prostate Cancer – Understanding the Risk Factors

There are different risk factors responsible for different types of cancers. However, this does not indicate that one will definitely develop the disease. However, it is still very important to understand the risk factors to be able to stay cautious and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Listed below are some of the significant risk factors associated with prostate cancer:


This is one of the significant risk factors for prostate cancer. This type of cancer is very rare in men younger than 40. However, the chances increase rapidly after they attain the age of 50. Studies have revealed that around 6 in 10 cases of prostate cancer are found in men over 65.


Cancer of the prostate is most common in Australia, North America, the Caribbean islands, and Northwestern Europe. On the other hand, it is less common in Central America, South America, Asia, and Africa. Although the reasons for the same are unclear, intensive screening in certain developed nations accounts for this difference. However, other factors, including lifestyle, diet, stress levels, etc., are also important. Asian Americans have a lower risk of prostate cancer than white Americans. However, the risk is higher as compared to men from similar backgrounds residing in Asia.


African-American men and those of African ancestry residing in the Caribbean are at more risk of developing prostate cancer than men of other races. Studies have also revealed that African-American men are more than twice as likely to die of prostate cancer as their white counterparts. Hispanic/Latino and Asian-American men are less likely to develop prostate cancer than non-Hispanic whites.

Genetic Changes

The risk of prostate cancer increases with inherited gene changes. However, they account for only a small fraction of cases. For instance, inherited mutations of genes (BRCA1 or BRCA2) increase the risk of prostate cancer in some men. Lynch syndrome (HNPCC or hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer) in men also increases the risk of varied types of cancer, including prostate cancer. This syndrome is a condition resulting from changes in inherited genes. Other inherited gene changes have also been shown to increase men’s risk of prostate cancer.

Family History

Prostate cancer is seen running in some families. This indicates the presence of an inherited or genetic factor. If a father or brother has prostate cancer, it almost doubles one’s risk of developing it. Also, the risk is higher among men with many affected relatives, especially if relatives are young at the time of cancer detection.

Other Risk Factors

Here is a list of some of the other factors which are found to have a less clear impact on the risk of prostate cancer:


Being overweight invites several health risks. Certain studies have found that obese men have a lower risk of getting a low-grade form of cancer and a higher risk of developing more aggressive prostate cancer. Obese men are also at greater risk for developing more advanced prostate cancer and dying from it.


Although the role of diet in prostate cancer is unknown, many factors have been researched and studied in this respect. Many red meat or high-fat dairy products in the diet can have a slightly higher chance of developing prostate cancer. Studies revealed that these men also tend to eat fewer vegetables and fruits.

Studies have also indicated that men consuming high calcium levels through natural foods or supplements may be at a higher risk of developing prostate cancer.


Some research has linked smoking to a small risk of men dying from prostate cancer.

Prostate Inflammation

Research has indicated that inflammation of the prostate gland and prostatitis may contribute to one’s increased vulnerability to prostate cancer risk. However, other studies failed to find such a link.


According to some studies, it is revealed that men who have had a vasectomy in the past (minor surgery to cause infertility in men) are at a slightly increased risk for developing prostate cancer. However, some studies by health experts and the top prostate cancer surgeons have ruled this cause away. Detailed and advanced research on this topic is still going on.

Chemical Exposures

Some evidence has been found related to firefighters exposed to chemicals responsible for increasing the risk of prostate cancer. Studies have indicated a link between exposure to a chemical known as ‘Agent Orange,’ used widely during the Vietnam War, and prostate cancer risk.

Sexually Transmitted Infections

Many studies and research have been conducted to know if sexually transmitted infections, such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, etc., may increase prostate cancer risk. This is because these infections can result in inflammation of the prostate. Good confirmations have yet to be received in this respect.