With the exception of non-melanoma skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most widespread form of cancer amongst men. Approximately 35,000 men contract this disease each year. It develops when the cells in the prostate start to multiply in a rapid and uncontrollable way. Whilst no one is sure exactly why the cells of the prostate start to do this there are a number of risk factors that are strongly associated with this type of cancer. In this article I am going to be discussing three of these risk factors in greater detail.
1) AGE:- Prostate cancer generally affects men who are aged 50 plus and is uncommon in younger men. Around two in every three diagnoses are in men who are aged 70 and over. It is not known why age is such a major risk factor and why this disease does not affect younger men. The most logical suggestion is that as you get older your prostate cells have replicated more and more times. Therefore, there is a greater chance of something going wrong during cell replication and causing cancerous growths.
2) DIET:- There is some evidence to suggest that your diet can influence your prostate cancer risk. Eating lots of animal fats and calcium is thought to increase your chances of contracting this diseases. On the other hand eating lots of fruits, vegetables and foods that are high in lycopene (found in tomatoes) and selenium (found in meat, fish and eggs) is thought to reduce your risk of developing this type of cancer.
3) FAMILY HISTORY:- Your family history influences your risk of developing prostate cancer in a number of ways. If your father or brother developed this condition then this increases your chances of contracting it too, particularly if it happened before they were 60 years old. On the female side of the family, if your mother or sister have previously contracted breast cancer then your chances of getting prostate cancer increase as well, especially if they contracted breast cancer before reaching 40. It is not known why family history has such a significant bearing but it has been suggested that a specific, inherited gene which has not yet been identified could be responsible.
Unfortunately, the majority of risk factors for this type of cancer are beyond our control. If after reading this article you think your chances of developing prostate cancer are particularly high you should go and see your doctor and start taking preventative action now. Whilst it is one of the most common types of cancer amongst males less than 3% of men die as a result of this condition. I hope this article has given you an insight in to your own personal risk but remember even if you are a high risk for the disease the chances of survival are still high.
Whilst every intention has been made to make this article accurate and informative, it is intended for general information only. Prostate cancer is a very serious, life threatening condition and you should discuss any concerns, treatments or lifestyle changes fully with your doctor.