Am I at risk for getting prostate cancer?
Mostly all men are at risk for prostate cancer. Around one man in nine can be diagnosed with this disease during his lifetime, but only 1 out of 39 will die of it. Approximately 80% of people over 80 years of age have prostate cancer. Apart from age, there are other factors that can potentiate the risk for prostate cancer.
The following factors can raise the risk of developing prostate cancer:
- Age: Prostate cancer risk increases with age particularly after age 50. More than 80% of prostate cancers are diagnosed in persons who are 65 years of age or older. Older men diagnosed with prostate cancer can face specific challenges, especially when it comes to cancer treatment.
- Geographical location: Across North America and Northern Europe, prostate cancer occurs most frequently. It also appears to be growing among Asian men living in urbanized environments, such as Hong Kong, Singapore, and North American and European cities, particularly among those with less physical activity and less balanced diets.
- Race: Black men carry a greater risk of prostate cancer than men of other races do. In these men, prostate cancer is more likely to be aggressive or advanced the reason being not determined yet.
- Family history: Approximately 20 percent of all prostate cancers are prostate cancer that runs in a family called familial prostate cancer. This form of prostate cancer develops due to a combination of shared genes and shared lifestyle or environmental factors.
Hereditary prostate cancer is rare and accounts for about 5% of all cases. This cancer occurs when gene modifications, or mutations, are transmitted from one generation to the next within a family. It can be suspected if any of the following characteristics are present in a family history:
- First degree relatives with prostate cancer
- 3 generations of prostate cancer on the same side of the family
- Close relatives such as a father, son, brother, grandfather, nephew, or uncle, on the same side of the family diagnosed with prostate cancer.
The risk of developing prostate cancer is 2 to 3 times higher if a man has a first-degree relative such as father, brother, or son with prostate cancer. This risk can be increased even more with the number of relatives diagnosed with prostate cancer.
- Hereditary prostate and ovarian cancer (HBOC) syndrome: HBOC is associated with the DNA-repair mutations to BRCA1 and/or BRCA2 genes. Men with HBOC are more likely to develop an aggressive type of prostate cancer. BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations accounts for only a minor percentage of familial prostate cancer. Men with BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations should undergo early screening for prostate cancer. Genetic testing is suitable for families with prostate cancer who also have HBOC.
- Other genetic changes: HPC1, HPC2, HPCX, CAPB, ATM, FANCA, HOXB13, and mismatch repair genes may carry an increased risk of developing prostate cancer.
- Eating habits: Changes in the diet and nutrition especially diet rich in high fat-dairy products and red meat can cause or increase the risk of prostate cancer.