Prostate Cancer Risk Factors

March 31, 2023

Prostate Cancer Risk Facotrs

What do i need to know?

by Jamal Ross

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer amongst men in the United States, and the second most common cancer in men worldwide. There are some well-established risk factors for prostate cancer. As with many cancers, there are some risks, such as our age, that are not under our control. While other risk, such as diet, are influenced by our decisions and can help lower the risk of cancer. When we look at the risk for prostate cancer; age, family history and ethnicity are major risk factors for this disease. Let’s find out more about prostate cancer and some of the things we can do decrease the chances of being affected by this disease.

Age is one of the strongest risk factors for prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is rarely found before the age of 40 years, and In the United States, over 90% of new cases of prostate cancer are found in men ages 55 years and older. Over 60% of the deaths from prostate cancer are seen in men over the age of 75 year. Fortunately, when found early, the 5-year survival rate for prostate cancer is 100%. (1) This is amazing news and continues to highlight the importance of early disease detection.

Furthermore, prostate cancer is more common in African American than Caucasian or Latino men. Furthermore, African American men tend to be diagnosed with prostate cancer at an earlier age. (1) When prostate cancer is diagnosed in African American men, it tends to be more aggressive. After African American men, Latino men tend to be diagnosed with prostate cancer at an advanced stage as well (2) African American men are also about twice as likely to die from prostate cancer when compared to other ethnic groups. (1) The higher risk of prostate cancer in African American men in unclear, but thought to be related to dietary choices and genetics. That being said, it is essential to receive screening for prostate cancer regardless of ethnicity as this disease has proven to impact men of all races.

It is not only important to know if there is a family history of prostate cancer, but other cancers as well. If there is a man on either side of your family with prostate cancer before the age of 65 years, you may be at risk for prostate cancer. If your father had prostate cancer, you are at a high risk of prostate cancer. If a woman in your family has breast cancer before the age of 50 or ovarian cancer, you may be at increased risk for prostate cancer. Interestingly, men with aggressive prostate cancer are tested for BRCA (Breast Cancer) mutation as this gene can also cause prostate cancer. If anyone in your family has a history of cancer of the colon or pancreas, your risk of prostate cancer may also be higher. It is also a good idea to speak with your doctor about the types of cancers in your family to determine If you would benefit from seeing a doctor who specializes in genetics.

REFERENCES
1. 1. National Institute of Health. Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program. Cancer Stat Facts: Prostate Cancer Available at: https://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/prost.html (Accessed on September 19, 2021)
2. Hoffman RM, Gilliland FD, Eley JW, Harlan LC, Stephenson RA, Stanford JL, Albertson PC, Hamilton AS, Hunt WC, Potosky AL. Racial and ethnic differences in advanced-stage prostate cancer: the Prostate Cancer Outcomes Study. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2001 Mar 7;93(5):388-95.
3. Chen YC, Page JH, Chen R, Giovannucci E. Family history of prostate and breast cancer and the risk of prostate cancer in the PSA era. Prostate. 2008 Oct 1;68(14):1582-91.

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Jamal Ross

Dr. Jamal Ross is an internist and pediatrician who possesses a passion for prayer and preventative medicine. He has worked in the fields of primary care and hospital medicine.

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