Prostate Cancer Home > Causes of Prostate Cancer

While specific prostate cancer causes are unknown, research has shown that certain risk factors (such as age, family history, race, and diet) may increase the chances of developing the disease. Researchers are currently investigating possible causes. For example, obesity, smoking, and a virus passed through sex are all potential causes of the condition that are worth exploring.

What Causes Prostate Cancer?

No one knows the exact causes of prostate cancer. Doctors often cannot explain why one man develops prostate cancer and another does not. However, we do know that prostate cancer is not contagious. You cannot "catch" it from another person.
 

Know the Risk Factors

Research has shown that men with certain risk factors are more likely than others to develop prostate cancer. A risk factor is something that may increase the chances of developing a disease.
 
Studies have found the following risk factors for prostate cancer:
 
  • Age: Age is the main risk factor for prostate cancer. This disease is rare in men younger than 45. The chance of getting it goes up sharply as a man gets older. In the United States, most men with prostate cancer are older than 65.
     
  • Family history: A man's risk is higher if his father or brother has prostate cancer.
     
  • Race: Prostate cancer is more common in African-American men than in white men, including Hispanic white men. It is less common in Asian and American Indian men.
     
  • Certain prostate changes: Men with cells called high-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN) may be at increased risk for prostate cancer. These prostate cells look abnormal under a microscope.
     
  • Diet: Some studies suggest that men who eat a diet high in animal fat or meat may be at increased risk for prostate cancer. Men who eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables may have a lower risk.
     
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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