What are the risk factors for prostate cancer?

There are certain risk factors linked to prostate cancer.  They are:

  • Age: Risk of prostate cancer goes up as men get older
  • Race: In the US, African-American men are more likely to get prostate cancer and die of it than in men of other races.
  • Nationality: Prostate cancer is most common in North America, northwestern Europe, Australia, and the Caribbean and less common in Asia, Africa, Central and South America.
  • Family history: Men with close family members (father or brother) who have had prostate cancer are more likely to get it themselves, especially if their relatives were young when they got the disease.
  • Genes: Scientists have found some inherited genes that seem to raise prostate cancer risk, but they account for only a small fraction of cases.
  • Diet: Men who eat a lot of red meat or high-fat dairy products seem to have a greater chance of getting prostate cancer.
  • Obesity: Some studies have found that obese (very overweight) men may be at greater risk for having more advanced prostate cancer and of dying from prostate cancer, but not all studies have found this.


Signs and symptoms of prostate cancer

Early prostate cancer often causes no symptoms. It may be found with a screening test such as a PSA blood test or a digital rectal exam. Problems with urinating could be a sign of advanced prostate cancer, but more often this problem is caused by a less serious disease known as BPH (benign prostatic hyperplasia).

Other possible symptoms of advanced prostate cancer are:

  • Trouble having or keeping an erection (impotence)
  • Blood in the urine
  • Pain in the spine, hips, ribs, or other bones
  • Weakness or numbness in the legs or feet
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control

You should contact your medical provider to discuss any signs or symptoms you may be experiencing.  You can also learn more about prostate cancer here.

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