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What Are the Risk Factors?

There are some risk factors linked to prostate cancer. A risk factor is something that can raise your chances of having a problem or disease. Having one or more risk factors doesn't mean that you will get prostate cancer; it just means that your risk of getting it is greater.
  • Age. Being 50 or older increases the risk of prostate cancer.
  • Race. African-American men are at the highest risk of prostate cancer. It tends to start at younger ages and grows faster than in men of other races. After African-American men, it is most common among white men, followed by Hispanic and Native American men. Asian-American men have the lowest rates of prostate cancer. Aside from race, all men can have other risk factors (aging, family history, and diet).
  • Family history. Prostate cancer risk is 2 to 3 times higher for men whose fathers or brothers have had the disease. For example, the risk is about 10 times higher for a man who has 3 immediate family members with prostate cancer. The younger a man is when he has prostate cancer, the greater the risk for his male family members. The risk also appears to be slightly higher for men whose mothers or sisters have had breast cancer.
  • Diet. The risk of prostate cancer seems to be higher for men eating high-fat diets with few fruits and vegetables.

What Causes It?

As with many types of cancers, medical experts do not know what causes prostate cancer. They are studying several possible causes.
(Click Causes of Prostate Cancer for a more in-depth look at this topic.)
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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