A look at Prostate Cancer Risk Factors
Prostate Cancer accounts for around one third of all male cancers. Yet many people do not know what the many risk factors for prostate cancer are.
Unfortunately a single, easily avoidable factor is not known to be responsible for the incidence of cancer; there are many risk factors that are additive. Some of these are thought to lead to an increased incidence of the disease (many of these factors such as age and race are unavoidable), while others may or may not have an impact but investigating them makes sense. Below some of the risk factors are discussed in further detail.
Likely to increase the incidence of prostate cancer
Things that have a strong relationship with increased risk of prostate cancer that are out of your control include Age (incidence increases above the age of 50); Race (increased risk in African Americans); Prostatic Intraepithelial Neoplasia – PIN (this increases with age); Nationality (Increased risk in European and Northern Americans); Family history (Genetics; some genes such as ELAC2 have a strong relationship with the occurrence of cancer); and Hormone (Androgen) levels.
Risks that are in your control include Lack of exercise; Diet (very high calcium intake/ consumption lycopenes); Obesity; and your Occupation (working with batteries / Cadmium). Some of the things to include in your diet in order to lower the risk of developing the condition include tomatoes and water melons (lycopenes), fruit, soy, whole grains (Vitamin E and Selenium), and fish. Things to avoid include the excessive eating of red meat and dairy products.
A note on calcium
Though calcium has been linked to an increased risk of prostate cancer, this only occurs when the mineral is taken excessively. Given the role that calcium plays in the body, such as it's role in bone creation, it should not be eliminated from your diet. Indeed there is no link between calcium consumption at normal levels and an increased risk of cancer.
Risk factors unlikely to increase the risk of prostate cancer
Many factors have been put forward as possible causes of prostate cancer. One of these is smoking, which is known to be hazardous to one's health due to the carcinogenic effects of smoke; however with regards to prostate cancer there is no clear correlation between smoking and risk.
At the current time there is no strong correlation between sexual activity or viruses as prostate risk factors; much work is being carried out in these areas and this may change in the future.
It has been put forward that men under the age of 35 who have a vasectomy are at an increased risk of prostate cancer. Although many more people are diagnosed with the condition who have a vasectomy this is likely to be the result of more regular testing for the condition in those undergoing a vasectomy, leading to earlier detection. At the present time the correlation between vasectomy and prostate cancer is very inconclusive; there may be a slight risk but nothing major compared to other risk factors such as age, race and diet.
It can be seen that some of the prostate cancer risk factors such as age and race are out of your control, however there are still many risk factors that you are able to control, such as diet (see prostate lycopene), weight and exercise. By living a more healthy lifestyle you may be able to lower the risks of developing cancer of the prostate.