Causes of Prostate Cancer

Factors that are most strongly linked to an increased chance of developing prostate cancer are:

  • Age: Prostate cancer is an age-dependent disease, which means the chance of developing it increases with age. The risk of getting prostate cancer by the age of 75 is 1 in 7 men. By the age of 85, this increases to 1 in 5.
  • Family history: If you have a first degree male relative with prostate cancer, you have a higher chance of developing it than men with no such history. The risk increases again if more than one male relative has prostate cancer. Risks are also higher for men whose male relatives were diagnosed when young.
  • Genetics: Genes are found in every cell of the body. They control the way the cells in the body grow and behave. Every person has a set of many thousands of genes inherited from both parents. Changes to genes can increase the risk of prostate cancer being passed from parent to child. Although prostate cancer can’t be inherited, a man can inherit genes that can increase the risk.
  • Diet: There is some evidence to suggest that eating a lot of processed meat or food that is high in fat can increase the risk of developing prostate cancer.
  • Lifestyle: There is evidence to show that environment and lifestyle can affect the risk of developing prostate cancer.

The information above has been adapted from: the PCFA Prostate Cancer Resources & www.prostate.org.au

The study was carried out by researchers from Boston University School of Public Health, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and Harvard Medical School, all in the US. It was funded by the National Cancer Institute and grants from the Prostate Cancer Foundation Young Investigator Award. The researchers concluded that “this large prospective study provides the strongest evidence to date of a beneficial role of ejaculation in prevention of prostate cancer”.