How Likely Are You To Develop Prostate Cancer?
Prostate cancer is extremely common, and it’s estimated that 1 in 8 men will develop it during their lifetime. But how do you know if you will be one of them? What are the prostate cancer risk factors?
There’s no guarantee that you will or won’t be affected, but there are factors that can make a diagnosis of prostate cancer more likely.
Ready to find out more with our prostate cancer risk checker? Let’s take a closer look.
What are the risk factors for prostate cancer?
Many men wonder how likely they are to develop prostate cancer. We know that generally, there is a 1 in 8 chance that you will. However, there are risk factors that can increase the likelihood that you will be affected. Some of these risk factors are controllable, others aren’t.
It can be helpful to know what these are so you can assess your risk.
Like most cancers, your risk of developing prostate cancer increases with age. It mainly affects men who are over the age of 50, so many doctors recommend starting screening at this age. However, if you’re over 45 but have a higher risk of prostate cancer due to other factors, such as your ethnicity or family history, you may be eligible for earlier screening.
The most common age for men to be diagnosed with prostate cancer is between 70 and 74 years. It is rare for it to develop in anyone younger than 40, but not impossible.
Ethnicity also plays a role in the development of prostate cancer. While the overall statistic states that 1 in 8 men will get prostate cancer in their lifetime, 1 in 4 black men will. The exact reason for this increased risk isn’t known, but it might be linked to genes.
Since your risk of developing prostate cancer increases with age, if you are a black man over the age of 45, it’s important to speak to your doctor about this and ask them about regular screening tests.
Research from the U.S. shows that African American men are more likely to get prostate cancer, develop the condition at a younger age and have more advanced disease when it is diagnosed. They are also more than twice as likely to die from prostate cancer than men of other ethnicities.
Genetics and family history
Genetics have been shown to be a key risk factor in the development of prostate cancer. The genes that you inherit from your parents can make you more likely to develop certain health conditions, including some cancers.
You could be at greater risk of prostate cancer caused by genetic changes if:
- You have a first-degree relative — like your father or brother — who had prostate cancer
- If that relative was under 60 when they were diagnosed with prostate cancer
- If other members of your family have been diagnosed with breast, ovarian or pancreatic cancer
Just because you have family who has had prostate cancer, it doesn’t mean that you are definitely going to develop the disease. If you are concerned about your genetic risk of prostate cancer, it’s worth speaking to your doctor to see if you can start screening for the disease earlier.
Do you eat a healthy, balanced diet and get plenty of exercise? If not, making positive lifestyle changes could help lower your risk of getting a diagnosis of prostate cancer in the future.
There is significant evidence to suggest that being overweight increases the risk of being diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer. And since lifestyle is something that you can control, making small adjustments to your diet and exercise levels to manage your weight could make a big difference to your health in the future.
Studies recommend that you:
- Eat a balanced, nutritious diet that is high in fruits, vegetables and lean meats
- Limit dairy foods, which contain calcium and are thought to increase your risk of prostate cancer
- Keep processed and red meat to a minimum
- Limit the amount of alcohol you consume to 14 units per week
- Get plenty of physical activity each week
- Give up smoking
Your doctor will be able to help advise and support you in making positive healthy lifestyle changes to decrease your risk of prostate cancer.
How to reduce the risk of prostate cancer
While there is no guarantee of being able to prevent prostate cancer, taking steps to control high-risk factors, such as those related to your lifestyle can help.
It’s also important to know the symptoms of prostate cancer so that you can spot it early if you do develop it. As with all cancers, the earlier prostate cancer is diagnosed and treated, the better your outcome is likely to be.
Symptoms of prostate cancer
The early warning signs of prostate cancer include:
- Difficulty starting to urinate
- Weak or interrupted flow of urine
- Urinating often, especially at night
- Difficulty completely emptying your bladder
- Pain or burning sensation during urination
- Blood in your urine or semen
If you are concerned about your prostate cancer risk or develop any of the symptoms listed above, don’t hesitate to speak to your doctor. When caught early, prostate cancer is readily treatable.