Who Is at Risk for Prostate Cancer?

According to the American Cancer Society, the risk factors for prostate cancer are not completely understood. However, some risk factors do seem to be associated with developing prostate cancer.6


The strongest risk factor for prostate cancer is age. In fact, the chance of having prostate cancer increases rapidly after age 50. Approximately 6 out of 10 prostate cancers are found in men over 65.1,7


Prostate cancer seems to run in some families, which suggests the disease may be inherited. If your father or brother has prostate cancer, or if your relatives were young when they were diagnosed with the disease, your risk increases.1,4

A small number of cases of prostate cancer can be linked to several inherited genes that raise a man's risk of developing this cancer.7


Prostate cancer occurs more often in African American men and in Caribbean men of African ancestry than in men of other races. African American men are also more likely than white men to die of prostate cancer.7

Asian American and Hispanic/Latino men are less likely to get prostate cancer than are non-Hispanic white men. Researchers do not know why these differences occur among races and ethnicities.7


The parts of the world where prostate cancer occurs most are North America, northwestern Europe, Australia, and the Caribbean islands. It is less common in Asia, Africa, Central America, and South America. This may be because of geographical differences in frequency of screening tests and differences in lifestyles, such as diet.7


Diet may have an effect on prostate cancer, although it is not clear why. Men who eat a lot of red meat or high-fat dairy products have a slightly higher chance of developing prostate cancer than those who eat more fruits and vegetables. Talk with your doctor for ways to make your diet healthier.7


Some studies suggest that obesity is not linked to a higher risk of prostate cancer. However, some, but not all, studies show that obese men seem to have a higher risk of developing a more aggressive prostate cancer, such as advanced prostate cancer, and a higher risk of dying from this disease.7


The direct effects of exercise on the risk of prostate cancer are unclear; however, increased physical activity may play a role in lowering your risk. Always talk with your doctor before starting an exercise program.7

If you have one or more of these risk factors, talk with your doctor to learn what you can do to reduce your risk.