Prostate cancer risk factors should be recognized, as the disease is one of the most common types of cancer among men. Approximately 1 out of every 7 men in the United States will get prostate cancer in their lifetime. While it's a very survivable illness, prevention and early detection are important. EHE firmly believes that each individual has the power to make a difference in their lives, and the road to long-term health all starts with preventative care.
The prostate — about the size of a chestnut — is a small gland in the male reproductive system. Its function is to help produce seminal fluid. Cancer that starts in the prostate usually grows slowly, but certain types are aggressive and can spread rapidly if not treated. Prostate cancer that is detected in the early stages, when it is still confined to the prostate gland, has a better chance of being successfully treated. In addition, most men who have prostate cancer within its early stages will survive more than five years after diagnosis.
On the other hand, once prostate cancer spreads outside the prostate, survival rates fall dramatically. Only one-third of men with prostate cancer that has metastasized survive five years after diagnosis.
All men have challenges to face, and although some factors can't be changed, there are still some ways that you can take action to reduce your overall risk and lead a healthier lifestyle. If you or a loved one are experiencing any complications with prostate cancer, here are several prostate cancer risk factors to consider that can make a difference:
Unfortunately, one of the most challenging prostate cancer risk factors to be cautious of is age. The risk of developing prostate cancer rises dramatically as a man gets older. However, prostate cancer is not common in men younger than 40. Once a man is over the age of 50, the chance of having prostate cancer rises rapidly. Approximately 6 out of every 10 cases of prostate cancer occur in men over the age of 65.
Men who have a brother or father with prostate cancer are twice as likely to develop it. The risk is higher for men who have a brother with prostate cancer. Men who have several relatives with prostate cancer have a much higher risk of developing this disease — especially if those relatives were young when they had it.
African-American men and Caribbean men of African ancestry are more likely to get prostate cancer. Additionally, these men are more likely to have advanced and aggressive forms of the disease. Prostate cancer occurs less often in Hispanic and Asian-American men than in non-Hispanic whites. The reason for these ethnic and racial disparities are not apparent.
Several research studies have found a link between prostate cancer and diet. One study examined the role of vegetables, legumes, and fruits. Researchers found that legumes and certain types of vegetables may protect against prostate cancer. Another study found that diets including high amounts of saturated and animal fats could increase the risk of developing prostate cancer. Researchers also discovered that a diet with low saturated fats may reduce the risk for cancer relapse in prostate cancer survivors.
Now that you're aware of prostate cancer risk factors and how serious they can be, it's important to stay vigilant and take action. The most important thing you can do is to talk to a healthcare professional about the need for a screening. Once you've been checked out, your doctor or physician will work with you to develop the best plan for your prevention or recovery. If for any reason you're having a hard time getting results, EHE will provide a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test for men over 50 who decide to get the screening after a thorough consultation on the risks and benefits.
More than anything, you should feel like there are resources and people who support you throughout the process. Dealing with prostate cancer and managing its risk factors can be difficult, but with the right knowledge, it is certainly possible to overcome.