Prostate cancer: Are you at risk?

Prostate cancer is an unpredictable disease that has the potential to affect any man regardless of his age, race, genetic history or lifestyle. There are risk factors, however, that can increase a person’s chances of developing prostate cancer, and being aware of them could help you think more productively about your healthcare and lifestyle choices.

The following factors could increase a man’s risk of developing the disease:

Older age

Over 80% of men diagnosed with prostate cancer are over the age of 65. In this way, it is worth visiting a urology specialist for a prostate exam once you enter your 60s.


Black men are at an increased risk of developing prostate cancer compared to men of other races. They are are also more likely to develop more aggressive tumours at an earlier age. Although the exact reasons for this disparity are not known, it is worth speaking to a doctor about your risk if you are a black man over the age of 45.

Genetics and family history

Genes play a role in one’s risk of developing prostate cancer. So-called ‘familial prostate cancer’ that develops thanks to a combination of shared lifestyle habits and inherited genes occurs in around 20% of cases. Hereditary prostate cancer, meanwhile, in which the disease is inherited directly from a blood relative, occurs in around 5% of cases.

This type of prostate cancer is rare and is usually suspected if a patient’s family history includes one of the following:

– Prostate cancer cases in three generations on the same family side
– Three or more first-degree family members with the disease
– Two or more closely-related family members such as a father or brother diagnosed with prostate cancer before turning 55.

Men with a history of breast and ovarian cancer in their families may also be at a higher risk of developing an aggressive form of prostate cancer.

Dietary habits

Although there is no conclusive evidence that diet can cause or prevent prostate cancer, certain studies have drawn a connection between obesity and prostate cancer (as well as a host of other forms of cancer). In this way, it may be advisable to try losing weight if you are obese, particularly if you fall into the other risk categories.

Remember to seek medical advice if you experience any prostate cancer symptoms, even if you believe that your risk of developing the disease is low.

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