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Prostate Cancer Causes, Risk Factors and Prevention

When found early, prostate cancer is one of the most curable cancers. Because early detection is key, it is important to understand the risk factors for prostate cancer. If you have an increased risk of developing prostate cancer, the Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center team of experts is here to help you stay healthy. 

What Causes Prostate Cancer?

The exact cause of prostate cancer is not clear, but certain risk factors may cause prostate cells to become cancer cells.

Prostate Cancer Risk Factors

Many high-risk factors for prostate cancer are things you cannot control like age and race.

  • Age: Age is the largest risk factor – prostate cancer is most common in men age 50 or older.
  • Family history: If anyone in your family (father, brother, son) has had prostate cancer you may be at higher risk due to inherited gene mutations.
  • Race: African American men have nearly twice the prostate cancer incidence of Caucasian men. It is less common among Asian or American Indian men.
  • Diet: A high-fat diet, particularly one consisting of a lot of animal fats, may increase your risk or even lead to an intermediate risk. Diets full of fruits and vegetables may decrease your risk for prostate cancer.

How to Prevent Prostate Cancer

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is the best way to decrease your chances of developing prostate cancer.

  • Eat a healthy diet including a variety of fruits and vegetables 
  • Follow recommended screening guidelines
  • Stay active and exercise regularly
  • Maintain a healthy weight

What Does NOT Reduce Your Risk of Prostate Cancer?

There are a lot of myths about things or techniques that can reduce your risk of prostate cancer. The following will not reduce your risk:

  • Frequent ejaculation: A high level of sexual activity has not been linked to prostate cancer
  • Prostate massage: While there may be some benefits to prostate massage there is no evidence that it will decrease your risk of prostate cancer

Take the time to discuss any risk factors you may have with your health care provider who can advise you on the screening exams and risk-reduction strategies that are right for you.

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