Prostate cancer in the most common type of cancer affecting men in the UK. Approximately 1 in 8 men will be affected by it at some point in their lives, but the chances are not the same for everybody. Some men are more likely to be affected by prostate cancer than others. What are the risk factors for prostate cancer and how can you reduce your chances of being affected?
Risk Factors for Prostate Cancer
Anyone who has a prostate gland can be affected by prostate cancer
but there are some factors that can increase the chances that you will be affected. It may be a good idea to discuss prostate cancer screening with your doctor before symptoms arise, particularly if you are at higher risk due to your age, family history or ethnicity.
Age: you are more likely to develop prostate cancer as you grow older. It is rarely seen in men under 50 (although it can happen) and is most likely to be diagnosed in the over 65s.
- Family history: your genes could affect the risk of developing prostate cancer so you are more likely to be affected if other men in your family have had this type of cancer. If your father or brother had prostate cancer then you are two and a half times more likely to be affected yourself. The risk is higher if your relative was affected before the age of 60. You might also be at higher risk of prostate cancer if a sibling or parent had breast cancer.
- Black ethnicity: black men are at higher risk of prostate cancer. Approximately 1 in 4 black men will be affected by prostate cancer at some point in their lives. You are also probably at higher risk if you are of mixed black ethnicity.
There is also some evidence that your lifestyle might have an impact on the chances of developing prostate cancer. The main risk factor is your weight as men who are overweight are more likely to be diagnosed with an aggressive or advanced prostate cancer, which can make the condition harder to treat.
What Can You Do to Reduce Your Prostate Cancer Risk?
Many of the risk factors associated with prostate cancer are outside our control so there isn’t much you can do to reduce the chances that you will be affected. The ageing process is inevitable and we can’t change our family history or ethnicity. The one risk factor that you can control is your weight. Eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise should help you to maintain a healthy weight, reducing your risk of prostate cancer and other health problems.
Although you can’t control all of the risk factors, it is possible to reduce the chances that prostate cancer will cause serious problems. You should ensure that you are aware of the potential symptoms of prostate cancer including frequent urination, needing to urinate often during the night, difficulty passing urine and blood in the urine. If you notice any of these then you should see a doctor as soon as possible. It is also a good idea to discuss prostate cancer screening with your doctor if you are at higher risk due to your age, family history or ethnicity.