Estimating Your Risk Of Getting Prostate Cancer

Estimating Your Risk Of Getting Prostate Cancer

Jun 11
Estimating Your Risk Of Getting Prostate Cancer

There are several risk factors related to developing prostate cancer. Unfortunately, many of these risk factors are not lifestyle-related and cannot be changed. All men are at risk for prostate cancer. According to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, one in six men are affected by prostate cancer, making it the most common non-skin cancer in America. The cause of prostate cancer is unknown. Many men have several risk factors for prostate cancer, yet never develop it. Other men have few risk factors and are diagnosed with prostate cancer. There is no reliable way to estimate your risk without screenings, such as a rectal exam or blood test. You can, however, be aware of the risk factors and discuss your level of risk with your doctor.


Age is the most significant risk factor, and the risk rises quickly after the age of 50. While some men are diagnosed at an earlier age, only one in 10,000 men will be diagnosed under the age of 40. More than 65 percent of prostate cancers are diagnosed in men over the age of 65. The average age of diagnosis is 69.


African-American men are at a higher risk for a prostate cancer diagnosis than white men, while men of Asian descent are at a lower risk. Asian men who live in America have a higher risk than Asian men who live in Asia.

Family History

Men who have an immediate family member, such as a father or brother, with a prostate cancer diagnosis are at a higher risk than men who don’t. Multiple family members with prostate cancer increases the risk.

Geographical Location

Men living in Africa, Asia, South America and Central America have a lower risk of developing prostate cancer than men living in the North America, Europe, Australia and the Caribbean Islands. This may be due to increased screening in developed countries or differences in lifestyle and culture. In the United States, men living in northern areas, above the 40th parallel north, have the highest risk of death from prostate cancer than men in other areas of the United States.


Men who consume a diet that is high in red meats or high-fat milk, cheese and other dairy products are at a higher risk of prostate cancer than those who do not. The reason for this is unclear, but may be due to consuming less in the way of fruits and vegetables. Some studies suggest that consuming an increased level of calcium, either from food or from supplements, increases the risk of prostate cancer, though levels ingested during the consumption of the average diet do not increase the risk.

Discuss your risk for developing prostate cancer with your healthcare professional, especially if you are over the age of 50.

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