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Factors That May Increase Your Prostate Risk

Prostate cancer is second only to lung cancer as the leading cause of cancer deaths in American males. It affects men in their middle-age years, which is why upon hitting their fifties men are advised to go in for annual digital rectal examinations (DRE), one of the tests done to screen men for prostate cancer.

The Importance Of Knowing Your Prostate Risk

The risk for cancers typically increases with age. However some men are at a greater risk for some cancers than others, which often means that earlier and more aggressive screening measures must be taken to reduce the risk for the disease as well as to catch the disease, if it is present, in its earlier stage. Typically, for prostate cancer, Africa-American men are advised to go in for screening once they reach 40 or 45, which is 5 to 10 years earlier compared to men who belong to other races. This is because prostate cancer has been shown to occur most often in African-American men. The same measure is taken in men with a familial history of any cancer. Knowing your prostate cancer risk can make you aware of your need for cancer screening, which can result to earlier detection and treatment.

Factors That Increase Prostate Risk

Like any other form of cancer, there is no one specific factor that causes the development of the disease. Genes, the environment, and diet are all believed to play interlinked roles in the development of the cancer in men.

Prostate risk increases with poor dietary habits, a familial predisposition to cancers, as well as exposure to environmental hazards which can cause cellular mutations. For one, men who have fathers or brothers diagnosed with prostate cancer are two to three times more likely to develop the disease themselves.

Age may also increase the prostate risk in men. The prostate normally starts to enlarge as men get older, and although an enlarged prostate does not necessarily mean that it is malignant, benign enlargement of the prostate, as seen in Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy, may have similar symptoms as prostate cancer and a man with BPH may have undetected cancer at the same time.

Diet is one of the most-studied factors which contribute to the development of the cancer. Studies have revealed that a high-fat diet composed of red meats consumed at regular intervals increased the level of circulating testosterone in the body, the androgen (male hormone) responsible for stimulating the growth and reproduction of cancerous prostate cells. However, a diet high in phytoestrogens, a substance found in plants and fruits can reduce a man’s risk for developing the disease. A low-fat, low calorie vegan diet is the ideal diet for patients suffering from cancer, particularly cancer of the prostate.

The environment may also play a significant role in the development of prostate cancer. It has been shown that although the prostate risk is lower in Asian men, this risk increased once they have migrated to the US, which suggests an environmental connection. The possible exposure to pollution, industrial hazards, and infectious agents compounded by lessened sun exposure may contribute to this increase in prostate risk.

Finally, the inclusion to a particular race may also raise a man’s prostate risk. Studies have shown that the cancer is more common in some racial and ethnic groups than others, although the reason for this is not clear. Specifically, prostate cancer is more common in blacks compared to whites, and is less seen among Hispanics, Asians, Pacific Islanders, and Native Americans.

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