September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, and in honor of that, we want to talk about the risk factors for prostate cancer. This is an important topic for men of all ages, as prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer in American men, after skin cancer. It is important to be aware of the risk factors so that you can take the necessary steps to prevent prostate cancer. In this blog post, we will list and describe the risk factors for prostate cancer. We will also discuss the risks associated with other prostate conditions such as benign prostatic hyperplasia and prostatitis.
Risk Factors for Prostate Cancer
The risk for prostate cancer increases with age. In fact, the Prostate Cancer Foundation notes that 60% of prostate cancer cases are diagnosed in men over the age of 65. Once you reach middle age, it is important to get regular PSA screenings to catch prostate cancer early when it is the most treatable.
There is a genetic component to prostate cancer, as it is the most heritable major cancer. The Prostate Cancer Foundation notes that as many as 58% of prostate cancer cases can be attributed to genetics. If you have a family member who has had prostate cancer, your risk is higher. The foundation also notes that having a close relative with prostate cancer doubles your risk, while having 2 or more relatives with prostate cancer can increase your risk by four times.
African American men are at a higher risk for developing and dying from prostate cancer. The Prostate Cancer Foundation found that African American men are 75% more likely to develop prostate cancer and more than two times as likely to die from it. The reasons for this increased risk are not fully understood, but there are some theories about possible genetic and environmental factors.
While diet has not been proven as a cause of prostate cancer, there is evidence to suggest that diet can play a role in prostate cancer risk. For starters, obesity is a risk factor associated with many types of cancers. Additionally, some studies indicate that a diet high in animal fat can increase the risk of prostate cancer, while a diet high in vegetables, fruit, and legumes can lower the risk of prostate cancer.
Agent Orange Exposure:
Prostate cancer has been linked to Agent Orange exposure. Agent Orange is a herbicide that was used during the Vietnam War. The U.S Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) lists prostate cancer as being associated with exposure to Agent Orange. The risk was first observed in Vietnam veterans, but has since been seen in other groups exposed to Agent Orange. If you were exposed to Agent Orange, it is important to get regular PSA screenings.
Other Prostate Conditions
In addition to prostate cancer, there are other conditions that can affect the prostate. These include:
- Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH): BPH is a non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate. It is very common and can cause urinary symptoms such as frequency, urgency, and hesitancy.
- Prostatitis: Prostatitis is an inflammation of the prostate. It can be caused by a bacterial infection, but often the cause is unknown. Prostatitis can cause urinary symptoms similar to BPH. It can also cause pain in the lower back, pelvis, and genital area.
Many people incorrectly assume that these conditions can increase the risk of prostate cancer. However, there is no evidence to suggest that having either of those conditions increases the risk of prostate cancer, nor do these conditions regularly develop into prostate cancer.
While these conditions are not cancerous, they can still have a significant impact on your quality of life. If you are experiencing any urinary symptoms, it is important to talk to your doctor. They can determine if the cause is BPH, prostatitis, or something else entirely.
In this blog, we discussed the risk factors for prostate cancer. These include: age, genetics, race, diet, and Agent Orange exposure. Prostate cancer is a serious condition, but it is also one that can be effectively treated if caught early. This September, during Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, take the time to learn about the risk factors for prostate cancer and talk to your doctor about your risk. Remember, knowledge is power when it comes to fighting cancer.