Some risk factors may affect your chances of developing prostate cancer, including your:
- Family history
In some cases, the mutations that lead to it are inherited. If you have a family history of prostate cancer, you are at increased risk of developing the disease yourself because you may have inherited damaged DNA.
According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 5-10% of cases are caused by inherited mutations. It has been linked to inherited mutations in several different genes, including:
- RNASEL, formerly known as HPCI
- BRCA1 and BRCA2, which have also been linked to breast and ovarian cancer in women
- MSH2, MLH1 and other DNA mismatch repair genes
One of the biggest risk factors for prostate cancer is age. This disease rarely affects young men. The Prostate Cancer Foundation reports that only 1 in 10,000 men under the age of 40 will develop it. That number jumps to 1 in 38 for men between the ages of 40 and 59, it leaps to 1 in 14 men between the ages of 60 and 69. The majority of cases are diagnosed in men over 65.
A diet that is rich in red meat and high-fat dairy products may also be a risk factor, though there is limited research. One study that was published back in 2010 looked at 101 cases found a correlation between a diet high in meat and high-fat dairy products and prostate cancer, but stressed the need for additional studies.
A more recent study from 2017 looked at the diet of 525 men newly diagnosed and found an association between high-fat milk consumption and the progression of cancer. This study suggests that high-fat milk consumption may also play a role in the development of prostate cancer.
Men who eat diets high in meat and high-fat dairy products also seem to eat fewer fruits and vegetables. Experts don’t know if the high levels of animal fat or the low levels of fruit and vegetables contribute more to dietary risk factors. More research is needed.
It’s important to check for symptoms of prostate cancer and if you do notice changes, then contact your GP.