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A risk factor is something that increases your likelihood of getting a disease or condition.

It is possible to develop prostate cancer with or without the risk factors listed below. However, the more risk factors you have, the greater your likelihood of developing prostate cancer. If you have a number of risk factors, ask your doctor what you can do to reduce your risk.

Factors that increase the risk for prostate cancer:

Age

After 50 years old, the risk of developing prostate cancer increases; for this reason, men over 50 should have an annual PSA test to screen for the development of prostate cancer. The majority of prostate cancers are seen in men over age 65.

Race and Ethnicity

In the US, African Americans have higher rates of developing prostate cancer. They are also more likely than Caucasian men to die from prostate cancer.

High-Fat Diet

Good nutrition is essential for health and well-being. Studies have found an association between diets high in fat and an increased risk of prostate cancer.

Lack of Exercise

Living a sedentary lifestyle may put you at greater risk for prostate cancer, while studies have found that exercising regularly may reduce your risk of prostate cancer.

Family History

Having a father or brother with prostate cancer increases your risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Chemical Exposure

Exposure to an herbicide known as Agent Orange has been associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer. You may have been exposed to this herbicide if you served in the armed forces, especially during the Vietnam War when the herbicide was used to clear vegetation.

References:

Detailed guide: prostate cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/ . Accessed October 9, 2008.

Prostate cancer. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/prostate/ . Updated October 2008. Accessed October 9, 2008.

Prostate cancer. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php . Updated October 2008. Accessed October 9, 2008.

Prostate cancer. National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/prostate . Accessed October 9, 2008.

9/4/2013 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance. https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us : Ansbaugh N, Shannon J, Mori M, et al. Agent Orange as a risk factor for high-grade prostate cancer. Cancer. 2013 Jul 1;119(13):2399-404.



Last reviewed September 2014 by Mohei Abouzied, MD, FACP

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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