There are many risk factors for getting prostate cancer. Some you can change, while others you can’t.
Your risks for prostate cancer rise if you are age 65 or older, have a family history of prostate cancer, are African American or have inherited mutations of the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes. Risk factors you can’t change include age, race and ethnicity, gender and family history of cancer.
Age: For all men, prostate cancer risk goes up with age. About 6 in 10 cases of prostate cancer are found in men older than 65. Prostate cancer is rare in men under the age of 40.
Race/ethnicity: African American men and Caribbean men of African ancestry face a higher risk for being diagnosed with prostate cancer. They are also more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer at younger ages. It is not clear why prostate cancer affects African American men more than other racial/ethnic groups.
Genetic Factors: The risk of prostate cancer more than doubles in men with a family history of prostate cancer in their grandfathers, fathers or brothers. Having family members with breast and ovarian cancer also raises a man’s risk for prostate cancer. That is because breast, ovarian and prostate cancers share some of the same genes, including BRCA1 and BRCA2. If a person has any of these mutations, they should be screened earlier or more often for prostate cancer.
Being exposed to harmful chemicals may put you at risk for prostate cancer. Some special groups may be at higher risk to include those who work in farming, factories, fire and rescue, research labs as well as those who are veterans or in active duty with the military.
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