Prostate Cancer Causes

Understand Your Prostate Cancer Risk Factors

Researchers continue to study what causes prostate cancer. They do know that genes play a role in the development and progression of the disease, especially:

  • Oncogenes. Genes that help cells grow, divide and stay alive.
  • Tumor suppressor genes. Genes that control cell growth, repair mistakes in DNA and cause cells to die at the right time.

Genetic mutations that keep oncogenes active or inactivate tumor suppressor genes can be prostate cancer causes. Both make cells grow out of control.

Gene mutations can be inherited or acquired.

Inherited Gene Mutations

Inherited gene mutations are passed from generation to generation. They play a role in about 10 percent of prostate cancers. Prostate cancer caused by inherited gene mutations is called hereditary prostate cancer. Several gene mutations have already been linked to hereditary prostate cancer, and more are currently being researched.

Acquired Gene Mutations

Acquired gene mutations occur during a person’s lifetime and are not passed from generation to generation. Most prostate cancer gene mutations are acquired rather than inherited. They may be caused by random events and influenced by other factors, such as diet and hormone levels.

Prostate Cancer Risk Factors

A risk factor is something that increases your chances of getting a disease. Identifying prostate cancer risk factors allows specialists to determine who is most at risk. In some cases, lifestyle or medication changes may be made to decrease the risk.

Key prostate cancer risk factors include:

  • Age. Men 50 and older are at a higher risk. Almost two-thirds of all prostate cancers are found in men over age 65.
  • Race and ethnicity. Prostate cancer is more common in African American men and less common in Asian American and Hispanic men. Asian men in the United States are at a higher risk than those living in Asia.
  • Family history of prostate cancer. Having a father or brother with prostate cancer greatly raises a man’s risk. The risk is even higher if more than one family member has prostate cancer, especially if at a young age.
  • Diet. Men who have a diet high in red meat or high-fat dairy foods and low in vegetables and fruit may have a greater chance of getting prostate cancer.
  • Obesity. Obesity has been linked with a higher risk of a more aggressive type of prostate cancer.
  • Chemical exposure. Men who are in contact with toxic chemicals (mostly at work) may have a higher risk for prostate cancer.
  • Genes. Men with certain inherited gene changes are at a higher risk for prostate cancer. Only a small number of prostate cancers, however, are strongly linked to gene changes.

Prostate Cancer Prevention

Prostate cancer risk factors like age, race and family history cannot be controlled. There are still, however, things that you can do to modify your risk. Prostate cancer prevention recommendations include:

  • Reach and maintain a healthy weight
  • Stay physically active
  • Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet consisting of fruits, vegetables and whole grains
  • Limit red and processed meats, sugar-sweetened beverages and highly processed foods

Because symptoms usually do not present in the early stages of the disease, the presence of risk factors may indicate the need for prostate cancer screening.

Prostate cancer screening may lead to an early diagnosis and increase the chances that treatment will be effective.

Consult a Doctor to Learn More About Your Risk Factors

We offer you access to New Jersey’s largest network of cancer specialists. If you are concerned about your prostate health or are experiencing any of the prostate cancer symptoms mentioned above, make an appointment with one of our expert urologists or oncologists today.

To contact one of New Jersey’s best prostate cancer specialists call
844-CANCERNJ or 844-226-2376.

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