Top ten prostate cancer risk factors every man needs to know

Oct 31, 2023
Top ten prostate cancer risk factors every man needs to know

Determining the specific cause of prostate cancer can be challenging as it varies from one individual to another. Various factors such as habits, genetics, and personal history can contribute to the likelihood of developing the disease. These factors are known as risk factors, and they can increase a man’s chances of getting prostate cancer. Research has shown that certain risk factors can increase the risk, while protective factors can lower the risk. It is vital to take into account and comprehend that there are specific factors that raise the likelihood of getting prostate cancer.

Why risk factors matter

To be prepared and informed about the possibility of prostate cancer, men should familiarize themselves with the associated risk factors. It is important to note that having one or more risk factors does not guarantee the development of prostate cancer, as some people without risk factors may still develop the disease. However, understanding the risk factors can help men to identify what they can and cannot control and make positive changes to reduce their risk of developing prostate cancer.

10 risk factors for prostate cancer

Here are 10 risk factors possibly raising a man’s risk of prostate cancer:


  • Age


Age is the primary risk factor for men in developing prostate cancer.While a man cannot control his age, being aware of this can encourage him to schedule yearly checkups for his prostate gland. Prostate cancer is rare in men below 40 years old. However, the risk of developing it significantly rises after reaching the age of 50. It is a fact that over 50% of prostate cancer cases are detected in males aged 65 years or older.


  • Race/ethnicity


Studies have shown that African American and Caribbean men with African ancestry have higher prostate cancer rates than other racial groups. Unfortunately, African American men are at a more significant threat of succumbing to prostate cancer than white men, with more than twice the likelihood. On the other hand, Asian-American and Hispanic/Latino men have lower incidences of prostate cancer. The underlying reasons for these racial disparities remain unknown.


  • Geography


There is a difference in the occurrence of prostate cancer based on where a man lives, but this is not widely understood. Prostate cancer is more prevalent in North America, northwestern Europe, Australia, and Caribbean islands, while it is less common in Asia, Africa, and Central and South America. Lifestyle differences, like dietary choices, are believed to contribute to this discrepancy.


  • Family history


Prostate cancer can have a genetic component, as it often occurs more frequently in families. If a man has a close family member, such as a father or brother, who has had prostate cancer, his risk of developing the disease is more than twice as high. This risk is even higher if the affected family member is a brother. Additionally, suppose a man has multiple relatives diagnosed with prostate cancer, especially if they were young. In that case, his risk of developing the disease is also increased.


  • Gene changes


Studies have revealed that men with inherited genetic alterations are more prone to developing prostate cancer. Inherited gene mutations, such as BRCA1 and BRCA2, have increased the risk of breast and ovarian cancer in women and may also elevate the risk of prostate cancer in some men. Additionally, Lynch syndrome, a hereditary genetic condition, can heighten the chances of developing various cancers, including prostate cancer, in men.


  • Food choices


Research indicates that men who consume large amounts of fatty red meat or high-fat dairy products possibly may increase the risk of developing prostate cancer. However, these same men tend to consume fewer fruits and vegetables, which may also affect their increased risk. In addition, some research indicates that consuming high amounts of calcium may increase the likelihood of developing prostate cancer in men. However, most studies show no association between the average calcium intake and prostate cancer risk, and calcium offers many essential health benefits.


  • Excess weight gain


Research indicates that overweight men have a lower chance of developing a less severe prostate cancer but a greater likelihood of being diagnosed with a more aggressive form.


  • Exercise


Studies have demonstrated a correlation between physical activity and decreased prostate cancer risk. Research indicates that men who actively participate in moderate to intense levels of exercise have a more than 50% reduced chance of developing prostate cancer. Furthermore, even men who exercised in smaller amounts had a 13% reduction in their risk of developing the aggressive form of the disease.


  • Chemical exposures


Several studies have indicated that there may be a connection between exposure to Agent Orange, a chemical widely used during the Vietnam War, and an elevated risk of developing prostate cancer.


  • Smoking


It’s common knowledge that smoking poses a threat to one’s health, especially when it comes to cancer. Recent studies suggest that smoking may slightly increase the risk of prostate cancer. Men who smoke and are concerned about their chances of developing this disease should consider quitting smoking as a precautionary measure.


Dr. David Samadi is the Director of Men’s Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Long Island. He’s a renowned and highly successful board certified Urologic Oncologist Expert and Robotic Surgeon in New York City, regarded as one of the leading prostate surgeons in the U.S., with a vast expertise in prostate cancer treatment and Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy.  Dr. Samadi is also the author of The Ultimate MANual, Dr. Samadi’s Guide to Men’s Health and Wellness, available online both on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Visit Dr. Samadi’s websites at robotic oncology and prostate cancer 911.