A risk factor is something that increases your likelihood of getting a disease or condition.
It is possible to develop prostate cancer with or without the risk factors listed below. However, the more risk factors you have, the greater your likelihood of developing prostate cancer. If you have a number of risk factors, ask your doctor what you can do to reduce your risk.
Factors that increase the risk for prostate cancer:
After 50 years old, the risk of developing prostate cancer increases. However, the majority of prostate cancers are seen in men over age 65.
In the US, African Americans have higher rates of developing prostate cancer. They are also more likely than Caucasian men to die from prostate cancer.
Good nutrition is essential for health and well-being. Studies have found an association between diets high in fat and an increased risk of prostate cancer.
Living a sedentary lifestyle may put you at greater risk for prostate cancer, while studies have found that exercising regularly may reduce your risk of prostate cancer.
Having a father or brother with prostate cancer increases your risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Exposure to an herbicide known as Agent Orange has been associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer. You may have been exposed to this herbicide if you served in the armed forces, especially during the Vietnam War when the herbicide was used to clear vegetation.
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Prostate cancer. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/genitourinary-disorders/genitourinary-cancer/prostate-cancer. Updated November 2013. Accessed September 8, 2016.
9/4/2013 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance.http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114483/Prostate-cancer: Ansbaugh N, Shannon J, Mori M, et al. Agent Orange as a risk factor for high-grade prostate cancer. Cancer. 2013;119(13):2399-2404.
Last reviewed September 2016 by Mohei Abouzied, MD, FACP Last Updated: 9/17/2014