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Prostate Cancer Causes And Risk Factors

Being Overweight Or Obese

Prostate Cancer? Causes and Prostate Cancer Risk Factors

Obese means being very overweight with a body mass index of 30 or higher. And being overweight means having a BMI of between 25 and 30.

Try to keep a healthy weight by being physically active and eating a healthy, balanced diet.

There is some evidence that being active might help to lower your risk of developing prostate cancer.

Being overweight or obese increases your risk of advanced prostate cancer. Researchers have found a link between being obese or overweight and cancers being higher grade .

Can Drinking Cause Prostate Cancer

No. Alcohol use can increase the risk for many types of cancer, but prostate cancer is not on this list.

Prostate cancer treatment: The care you need is one call away

Your multidisciplinary team will work with you to develop a personalized plan to treat your prostate cancer in a way that fits your individual needs and goals.

Risk Factors For Bph And Prostate Cancer

The word âbenignâ in benign prostatic hyperplasia means itâs not cancer. âHyperplasiaâ means an increased number of cells. BPH is also known as an enlarged prostate.

Itâs not clear what causes an enlarged prostate, but age appears to play a role. The main male hormone is testosterone, and your testosterone level naturally goes down with age.

Along with testosterone, you produce smaller amounts of a hormone called dihydrotestosterone and the female hormone estrogen. Some researchers theorize that as your testosterone drops, it leaves you with higher proportions of estrogen and DHT. This could prompt prostate cells to spread.

The main risk factors for BPH are being male and being older. Itâs rare if youâre under 40. Half of all men between ages 51 and 60 have BPH. It may affect as many as 90% of men older than 80.

Other risk factors for BPH include:

  • Family history: Having blood relatives with BPH boosts your risk
  • Overall health: Conditions such as diabetes or heart disease increase your odds
  • Obesity and lifestyle: Obesity may raise your risk, while exercise can lower it

Cancer starts when cells develop changes in their DNA, causing abnormal cells to grow out of control. Exactly what sets this off in prostate cells isnât clear.

As with BPH, the biggest risk factors for prostate cancer are being male and aging. Those 50 and up are at highest risk. About 13 of every 100 men will get prostate cancer during their lifetimes.

Other risk factors are:

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Risk And Other Prostate Conditions

A common misconception is that the presence of non-cancerous conditions of the prostate will increase the risk of prostate cancer.

While these conditions can cause symptoms similar to those of prostate cancer and should be evaluated by a physician, there is no evidence to suggest that having either of the following conditions will increase a mans risk for developing prostate cancer.

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia is a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate. Because the urethra runs directly through the prostate, enlargement of the prostate in BPH squeezes the urethra, making it difficult and often painful for men to urinate. Learn more about BPH.

Prostatitis, an infection in the prostate, is the most common cause of urinary tract infections in men. Most treatment strategies are designed to relieve the symptoms of prostatitis, which include fever, chills, burning during urination, or difficulty urinating. There have been links between inflammation of the prostate and prostate cancer in several studies. This may be a result of being screened for cancer just by having prostate-related symptoms, and currently, this is an area of controversy. Learn more about prostatitis.

Family History And Genes

Risk Factors &  Symptoms

Your risk of prostate cancer is higher if you have a close relative, such as a brother or father, who has had prostate cancer.

Some inherited genes can increase your risk of prostate cancer. These inherited genes are rare and account for only a small number of prostate cancers.

The risk increases by up to 5 times in men with the gene BRCA2. And the risk might increase with the BRCA1 gene. These genes also cause breast and ovarian cancers.

Men with a rare syndrome called Lynch syndrome have a higher chance of developing prostate cancer and some other cancers. A change in one of the genes that fixes mistakes in DNA causes this syndrome eg. MSH2 and MLH1 genes.

Researchers are looking into other genes that might also increase the risk of prostate cancer.

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Symptoms Of Prostate Cancer

The prostate is a small, walnut-shaped gland that produces seminal fluid in men. This gland surrounds the urethra, or the tube through which urine passes. Prostate cancer develops when cells in the prostate experience DNA changes. These abnormal cells can develop into a tumor, which could grow and potentially spread.

Not everyone who develops prostate cancer will have symptoms, and different individuals can experience different symptoms. According to the CDC, symptoms of prostate cancer could include:

  • Difficulty urinating
  • Persistent discomfort in the back, hips, or pelvis

Keep in mind that while these symptoms dont always indicate prostate cancer, they do warrant a trip to the doctors office for further investigation.

How Common Is Prostate Cancer

About one in nine men will receive a prostate cancer diagnosis during his lifetime. Prostate cancer is second only to skin cancer as the most common cancer affecting males. Close to 200,000 American men receive a diagnosis of prostate cancer every year. There are many successful treatments and some men dont need treatment at all. Still, approximately 33,000 men die from the disease every year.

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Rectal Exams And Blood Test

Prostate specific antigen, or PSA, is a blood test that looks for a protein made by the prostate and prostate cancer cells. When this test is used to screen healthy men between the ages of 5569 years old, it can decrease prostate cancer death by about 20%. Your doctor will draw blood and pair it with a digital rectal exam for initial screening.

Prostate Cancer Risk Factors

Prostate Cancer: Risk Factors

A risk factor is anything that raises your risk of getting a disease such as cancer. Different cancers have different risk factors. Some risk factors, like smoking, can be changed. Others, like a persons age or family history, cant be changed.

But having a risk factor, or even several, does not mean that you will get the disease. Many people with one or more risk factors never get cancer, while others who get cancer may have had few or no known risk factors.

Researchers have found several factors that might affect a mans risk of getting prostate cancer.

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Prostate Cancer: Cause And Risk Factors

There are likely a variety of causes and contributing factors that lead to prostate cancer

No single cause of prostate cancer has been identified. There are likely a variety of causes and contributing factors that lead to prostate cancer. The major known risk factors for prostate cancer are age, race and family history. Although there are no conclusive data, diet and other environmental factors may play a role as well.

More From Men’s Health

Age is the single most important factor in the development of prostate cancer. It is extremely rare for a man under the age of 40 to develop detectable prostate cancer. However, early growth of precancerous or cancerous cells in the prostate may actually begin before that time. Detectable prostate cancer takes time to develop. The chance of having prostate cancer increases rapidly after age 50. In fact, about 80% of all prostate cancers are diagnosed in men over the age of 65. A man in his mid-to-late seventies is 130 times more likely to develop prostate cancer than a man in his mid-to-late forties. It is still unclear why prostate cancer rates increase with age however, the genetic mutations that have been linked to development of cancer occur gradually over time.


Family History



1. Multiply your weight in pounds by 704.

2. Multiply your height in inches by itself.

3. Divide the result of step one with the result in step two.


Vitamin D & Sunlight

Circulating Male Hormone Level

Am I At Risk Of Prostate Cancer

In the UK, about 1 in 8 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. We don’t know exactly what causes prostate cancer but there are some things that may mean you are more likely to get it these are called risk factors.

There are three main risk factors for getting prostate cancer, which are things you can’t change. These are:

  • getting older it mainly affects men aged 50 or over

If you have any of these risk factors or if you have any symptoms, speak to your GP. They can talk to you about your risk, and about the tests that are used to diagnose prostate cancer. You can also get in touch with our Specialist Nurses, who can help you understand your risk of prostate cancer.

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The Exact Cause Of Prostate Cancer Is Unknown However There Are Several Risk Factors That Have Been Identified That Increase The Odds Of An Individual Getting The Disease

Although prostate cancer seems random in some men, there are still known risk factors.

Chinnapong | iStock/ Getty Images Plus

The cause of prostate cancer is complex and not fully understood. We do know that the glandular tissue of the prostate is prone to genetic mutations that may be triggered by a variety of factors. In many men, the disease seems to be random, and the cause remains unknown.

The term risk factors refers to attributes or exposures in an individual that increase the odds of getting the disease. For prostate cancer, there are many risk factors. Lets consider the common ones.

Age. The most significant risk factor for developing prostate cancer is one that cant be helped: aging. Sixty percent of all prostate cancers are diagnosed in men over age 65.

Genetic Factors. Genetics are at play in the 5 to 10 percent of prostate cancer patients who have a strong family history. A man with a first-degree relative with prostate cancer has double the risk of developing the disease and presents six to seven years earlier than other men.

The National Cancer Institute explains that the following factors are suggestive of genetic risk:

  • Multiple first-degree relatives with prostate cancer, including three successive generations with prostate cancer on the mothers or fathers side.
  • A relative with early-onset prostate cancer .
  • Family history of prostate cancer and other cancers .

Inflammation Of The Prostate

Risk Factors of Prostate Cancer

Some studies have suggested that prostatitis may be linked to an increased risk of prostate cancer, but other studies have not found such a link. Inflammation is often seen in samples of prostate tissue that also contain cancer. The link between the two is not yet clear, and this is an active area of research.

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Understand Your Prostate Cancer Risk Factors

Researchers continue to study what causesprostate cancer. They do know that genes play a role in the development and progression of the disease, especially:

  • Oncogenes. Genes that help cells grow, divide and stay alive.
  • Tumor suppressor genes. Genes that control cell growth, repair mistakes in DNA and cause cells to die at the right time.

Genetic mutations that keep oncogenes active or inactivate tumor suppressor genes can be prostate cancer causes. Both make cells grow out of control.

Gene mutations can be inherited or acquired.

Gene Mutations And Genetic Syndromes

It’s thought that 10% of prostate cancers are related to inherited mutations for which testing is now available. The chance that a prostate cancer is hereditary is increased if at least three relatives have had prostate cancer.

Some genetic changes associated with prostate cancer include:

  • BRCA gene mutations: Both BRCA1 gene mutations and BRCA2 gene mutations carry an increased risk of prostate cancer. It’s important to note that both of these mutation types may be associated with different cancers in different family members. So, for example, a healthcare provider may be more concerned that you have one of these mutations if you have young relatives who have had breast cancer and another family member who has had pancreatic cancer than if you have a few relatives assigned male at birth who had prostate cancer at a later age.
  • Lynch syndrome : This syndrome is caused by mutations in DNA mismatch repair genes and is associated more strongly with colorectal cancer.
  • RNASEL mutations: These mutations affect a tumor suppressor gene.
  • HOXB13 mutations: These mutations are uncommon and are associated with prostate cancer in younger people assigned male at birth.

Gene mutations can be confusing. It is not usually the gene mutation itself that gives rise to cancer. Many of the genes associated with an increased risk of cancer are tumor suppressor genes.

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Risks For Prostate Cancer

Certain behaviours, substances or conditions can affect your risk, or chance, of developing cancer. Some things increase your risk and some things decrease it. Most cancers are the result of many risks. But sometimes cancer develops in people who don’t have any risks.

The risk for prostate cancer increases as men get older. The chance of being diagnosed with prostate cancer is greater after age 50. Prostate cancer is most often diagnosed in men in their 60s.

The following can increase your risk for prostate cancer. Most of these risks cannot be changed.

Who Is At Risk For Prostate Cancer

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All men are at risk for prostate cancer, but African-American men are more likely to get prostate cancer than other men.

All men are at risk for prostate cancer. Out of every 100 American men, about 13 will get prostate cancer during their lifetime, and about 2 to 3 men will die from prostate cancer.

The most common risk factor is age. The older a man is, the greater the chance of getting prostate cancer.

Some men are at increased risk for prostate cancer. You are at increased risk for getting or dying from prostate cancer if you are African-American or have a family history of prostate cancer.

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Established Risk Factors: Age Race And Family History

The only risk factors for prostate cancer that can be considered established are age, race/ethnicity, and family history. Study of age-specific incidence curves reveals that prostate cancer risk begins to rise sharply after age 55 years and peaks at age 7074, declining slightly thereafter. Autopsy studies confirm that prostate cancer has a long induction period, and that many men have incipient lesions in their 20s and 30s.2 As Figure 1 shows, the risk of prostate cancer is approximately 60% higher in African Americans than in whites. Mortality among African Americans is approximately double that of whites. Conflicting data exist as to whether this mortality difference is explained entirely by differences in socioeconomic status variables and stage at diagnosis, or whether an inherent difference exists between these racial/ethnic groups in the underlying biology of prostate cancer. It should be emphasized that biological explanations for these risk differences could involve genetic factors, environmental factors, or, more likely, an interaction between the two.

Other Prostate Cancer Symptoms

Some prostate cancer symptoms are less common and in some men may be associated with more advanced disease.

If you experience any of these prostate cancer symptoms, you should consult your healthcare provider immediately. There are many tests and procedures available for prostate cancer diagnosis and many options for prostate cancer treatment.

Originally published in February 2016 and updated.

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Does Undergoing A Vasectomy Cause Prostate Cancer

The link between prostate cancer and vasectomy is controversial. A 2020 study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute suggests that undergoing a vasectomy may result in a small increased risk of prostate cancer that persists for at least three decades, regardless of the age at vasectomy. However, other studies have not found this to be true and more research is needed, according to the American Cancer Society.

Risk Factors You Cant Control

Prostate Cancer: Causes and Risk Factors

Age: The risk of developing prostate cancer increases with age. One in 10,000 men younger than 40 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, but one in 15 men in their 60s will be diagnosed with the disease.

Family history: Being born with a gene mutation is one of the unavoidable risks of prostate cancer. Two of them include the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations. BRCA and other inherited mutations, including HOXB13 and DNA mismatch repair genes, may explain why prostate cancer runs in families. Having a father or brother with prostate cancer may double a mans risk, especially if that relative was diagnosed before age 55.

Prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia :

Race: Studies show that African-American men are about 70 percent more likely to develop prostate cancer in their lifetime than Caucasian or Hispanic men.

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Vitamin D Deficiency And Sun Exposure

Vitamin D behaves like a hormone in the body and is produced in the skin upon exposure to ultraviolet light from the sun. It’s been known for some time that people assigned male at birth who live in northern regions are more likely to develop the disease than those in southern latitudes, and this increased risk is thought by some to be related to vitamin D deficiency.

Other research has suggested that high serum vitamin D levels may reduce the risk of aggressive prostate cancer. Fortunately, vitamin D levels can be tested a via a simple blood test, and people assigned male at birth can talk to healthcare providers about supplementation if needed.

What You Can Do

Its important that you learn all you can about advanced prostate cancer so you can make informed decisions. Be open with your doctors and others on your healthcare team. Express your concerns and feel free to advocate for yourself and your quality of life. Get another medical opinion if you feel its necessary.

Some complementary therapies may prove helpful in coping with advanced cancer. For example:

  • tai chi, yoga, or other movement therapy
  • meditation, breathing exercises, or other relaxation techniques

A variety of services can help you with everything from lodging while youre getting treatment to getting some help around the house. Communicating with online or in-person groups are a good way to share information and lend mutual support.

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