What are the risk factors for prostate cancer?

By Royal Examiner 9/6/2021

September is National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, which makes it an ideal time to learn more about this disease and speak with your doctor about it, especially if you’re a man over the age of 50. Here are several factors that can increase your risk of developing this type of cancer:

• Age. Approximately 60 percent of prostate cancer cases are diagnosed in men 65 and older.

• Family history. Men may be at a higher risk if a close relative was diagnosed with the disease before the age of 65.

• Weight. Men who are overweight are more likely to be diagnosed with an advanced stage of prostate cancer.

• Height. Some studies have found a link between being tall and having an increased risk of developing this type of cancer.

• Excess calcium. A diet that’s high in dairy products and other calcium-rich foods may increase the risk of prostate cancer.

• Genetic mutations. Inherited mutations of two genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2, have been associated with this type of cancer.

Other risk factors include smoking cigarettes, handling certain chemicals, and having high levels of androgens or inflammation of the prostate gland.

PSA test
The American Cancer Society recommends that men undergo prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tests starting at age 50, or sooner if they’re at a high risk of developing prostate cancer. This blood test can help detect the disease in its early stages before symptoms appear. Talk to your doctor about whether it’s right for you.

To learn more about this disease, visit cancer.org.

Black males are more likely to develop prostate cancer than those from other racial backgrounds. When prostate cancer appears in Black people, it tends to be more aggressive and progress faster. A 2021 study into the heredity of prostate cancer found 86 new genetic risk variants. The study found that men of African ancestry had an estimated mean genetic risk score (GRS) more than two times higher than men of European ancestry.

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