Prostate Cancer Risk Factors
Most scientists agree that these things affect the risk of prostate cancer. Some may apply to you, but others may not.
Age and Prostate Cancer
The risk of prostate cancer goes up with age. More than 90 percent of cases are diagnosed in men over 55.
Height and Prostate Cancer
Tall men have a higher risk of prostate cancer. Scientists aren't sure why. One reason may be that tall people have more cells in their bodies, which increases the number of cells that could become cancerous. Another reason may be that tall people grow faster as children. Faster growth is linked to changes in the genetic structure (DNA) of the body's cells, eventually causing them to become cancerous.
Tall men also have a higher risk of colon cancer. Tall women have a higher risk of breast cancer and colon cancer.
Foods with Animal Fat and Prostate Cancer
Men who eat less than 5 servings a day of foods that contain animal fat have a lower risk of prostate cancer. Scientists aren't sure why. One reason may be that animal fat affects hormone levels that raise prostate cancer risk.
Examples of foods that contain fat from animals include beef, lamb, whole milk, and cheese. One serving is a small amount of food, enough to fit in the palm of your hand.
Men who eat limited amounts of animal fat also may have lower blood cholesterol levels and a lower risk of heart attack.
Foods with Tomatoes and Prostate Cancer
Men who eat at least one serving of tomato-based food a day have a lower risk of prostate cancer. Tomatoes have an antioxidant called lycopene. Antioxidants are powerful substances that can help protect cells from becoming cancerous.
Tomato-based foods include spaghetti sauce, tomatoes, salsa and even pizza sauce! One serving is about 1/2 cup of sauce.
Family History and Prostate Cancer
Men who have a father or brother with prostate cancer have a higher risk of the disease. This is because some prostate cancer is linked to mutations or changes in DNA. These mutations can be passed on from generation to generation. The younger and closer the relative, the higher the risk.
With many diseases, people who have a family history have a higher risk. A family history raises the risk of several cancers like bladder, kidney and skin cancer. It also raises risk of heart disease, diabetes, bone loss (osteoporosis) and stroke.
African-Americans and Prostate Cancer
African-American men have a higher risk of prostate cancer. In fact, they have the highest rates of prostate cancer in the world. Although scientists aren't sure why, one possibility is that African-American men have hormone levels that are linked to higher risk. As a group, African-American men also eat foods that increase their risk of the disease.
Asians and Prostate Cancer
Asian men have a lower risk of prostate cancer than other men. Although scientists aren't sure why, one possibility is that Asian men eat foods that are linked to lower risk. Or they may have hormone levels that lower their risk of the disease.
This is an educational web site for informational purposes only. It does not take the place of regular medical check-ups.