One common men’s health issue is prostate cancer, and there are many known risk factors. A risk factor is something that increases your risk of getting a certain disease. Some risk factors, like smoking, are lifestyle choices that can be changed. Others, like age, can’t be changed.
Having one or more risk factors for prostate cancer doesn’t mean that you will get it. Many men who have one or more risk factors never develop prostate cancer. Others are diagnosed with prostate cancer and have few or no risk factors. Read on to learn more about the risk factors that might affect a man’s chances of getting prostate cancer, according to the American Cancer Society.
It’s rare for a man under 40 to be diagnosed with prostate cancer. The chances increase rapidly for men who are over 50. About 60 percent of prostate cancer is found in men older than 65.
2. Race and Ethnicity
African American men and Caribbean men of African descent are diagnosed more frequently than men of other races and are diagnosed younger. Asian Ameican, Hispanic, and Latino men are less likely to get prostate cancer than non-Hispanic whites.
Men living in North America, northwestern Europe, Australia, and the Caribbean islands have a higher incidence of prostate cancer. Men living in Asia, Africa, Central America, and South America have a lower incidence. This may be due to more screening in developed countries and lifestyle differences, like diet.
4. Family History
Prostate cancer seems to run in some families, which indicates a genetic factor. Most prostate cancers are diagnosed in men without a family history. Having a brother or father with prostate cancer increases the risk by more than double. Prostate cancer risk is much higher for men who have several relatives who were diagnosed with prostate cancer, especially if their relatives were diagnosed young.
5. Genetic Mutations
Although they account for very few cases, some inherited gene changes can raise prostate cancer risk.
- BRCA1 or BRCA2 Increased mutations of these genes can increase prostate cancer risk, especially mutations of BRCA2
- Lynch Syndrom Caused by inherited gene mutations, Lynch syndrome is a hereditary, non-polyposis colorectal cancer. Men with Lynch syndrome have an increased risk for many cancers, including prostate cancer.
Prostate Cancer Screening
Prostate cancer is detected through a two-part screening. Men should begin this screening when they are 40.
The first part is a blood test. Blood, drawn from the arm, is analyzed to detect Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA). PSA is a protein produced by both cancerous and healthy cells.
The second part is a digital rectal exam (DRE). You doctor will check your prostate by inserting a gloved finger into the rectum to feel the prostate for abnormalities that may be cancer. Having both parts of the prostate cancer screening give your health care provider a more comprehensive view of your health.
Do you have at least one risk factor for prostate cancer? Schedule your screening today.