Am I At Risk Of Prostate Cancer
In the UK, about 1 in 8 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. We dont know exactly what causes prostate cancer but there are some things that may mean you are more likely to get it these are called risk factors.
There are three main risk factors for getting prostate cancer, which are things you cant change. These are:
- getting older it mainly affects men aged 50 or over
If you have any of these risk factors or if you have any symptoms, speak to your GP. They can talk to you about your risk, and about the tests that are used to diagnose prostate cancer. You can also get in touch with our Specialist Nurses, who can help you understand your risk of prostate cancer.
Vasectomy May Increase Risk Of Aggressive Prostate Cancer
For immediate release: Monday, July 7, 2014
Boston, MA Vasectomy was associated with a small increased risk of prostate cancer, and a stronger risk for advanced or lethal prostate cancer, according to a new study from Harvard School of Public Health . The researchers found that the association remained even among men who received regular PSA screening, suggesting the increased risk of lethal cancer cannot be explained by diagnostic bias. It is the largest and most comprehensive study to date to look at the link between vasectomy and prostate cancer.
The study appears online July 7, 2014 in Journal of Clinical Oncology.
This study follows our initial publication on vasectomy and prostate cancer in 1993, with 19 additional years of follow-up and tenfold greater number of cases. The results support the hypothesis that vasectomy is associated with an increased risk of advanced or lethal prostate cancer, said co-author Lorelei Mucci, associate professor of epidemiology at HSPH.
Vasectomy is a common form of contraception in the U.S., with about 15% of men having the procedure. Prostate cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death among U.S. men, so identifying risk factors for lethal prostate cancer is important for public health.
Support for the study was provided by Grants No. P01 CA055075, CA133891, CA141298, and UM1CA167552-01 and by Training Grant No. T32 CA09001 from the National Cancer Institute/National Institutes of Health.
For more information:
About Dr Dan Sperling
Dan Sperling, MD, DABR, is a board certified radiologist who is globally recognized as a leader in multiparametric MRI for the detection and diagnosis of a range of disease conditions. As Medical Director of the Sperling Prostate Center, Sperling Medical Group and Sperling Neurosurgery Associates, he and his team are on the leading edge of significant change in medical practice. He is the co-author of the new patient book Redefining Prostate Cancer, and is a contributing author on over 25 published studies. For more information, contact the Sperling Prostate Center.
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Risk Factors In Aggressive Vs Slow
In the past few years, weve learned that prostate cancer really is several diseases with different causes. More aggressive and fatal cancers likely have different underlying causes than slow-growing tumors.
For example, while smoking does not appear to be a risk factor for low-risk prostate cancer, it may be a risk factor for aggressive prostate cancer. Likewise, lack of vegetables in the diet is linked to a higher risk of aggressive prostate cancer, but not to low-risk prostate cancer.
Body mass index, a measure of obesity, is not linked to being diagnosed with prostate cancer overall. In fact, obese men may have a relatively lower PSA levels than non-obese men due to dilution of the PSA in a larger blood volume. However, obese men are more likely to be diagnosed with aggressive disease.
Other factors that have been linked to aggressive prostate cancer include:
- Lack of exercise and a sedentary lifestyle
- Very high calcium intake
- Agent Orange exposure
Research in the past few years has shown that dietary factors might decrease the chances of developing prostate cancer, reduce the likelihood of having a prostate cancer recurrence, or help slow the progression of the disease. Get practical tips on dietary and lifestyle changes in PCFs guide, The Science of Living Well, Beyond Cancer.
What You Can Do: Screening And Prevention
The American Cancer Society recommends one of the following testing options for all people beginning at age 50:
Tests that find polyps and cancer
- Colonoscopy every 10 years, or
- Flexible sigmoidoscopy every 5 years*, or
- Double-contrast barium enema every 5 years*, or
- CT colonography every 5 years*
Tests that primarily find cancer
- Yearly fecal occult blood test **, or
- Yearly fecal immunochemical test **, or
- Stool DNA test , interval uncertain**
* If the test is positive, a colonoscopy should be done.** The multiple stool take-home test should be used. One test done by the doctor is not adequate for testing. A colonoscopy should be done if the test is positive.
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Inflammation Of The Prostate
Some studies have suggested that prostatitis may be linked to an increased risk of prostate cancer, but other studies have not found such a link. Inflammation is often seen in samples of prostate tissue that also contain cancer. The link between the two is not yet clear, and this is an active area of research.
Other Prostate Cancer Symptoms
Some prostate cancer symptoms are less common and in some men may be associated with more advanced disease.
If you experience any of these prostate cancer symptoms, you should consult your healthcare provider immediately. There are many tests and procedures available for prostate cancer diagnosis and many options for prostate cancer treatment.
Originally published in February 2016 and updated.
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Emerging Research On Prostate Cancer
We fund research on prostate cancer through our grant programme. Read about the latest findings and ongoing projects in our database of projects.
Diet and Cancer Report 2018
In 2018, World Cancer Research Fund International published Diet, Nutrition, Physical Activity and Cancer: a Global Perspective on behalf of AICR, WCRF and WKOF. This was the third in our series of major reports looking at the many ways in which our diets, and how active we are, affect our cancer risk. You can find out much more about prostate cancer by downloading a pdf of the relevant chapter in the 2018 report. Please note, however, that this webpage may have been updated since the report was published.
Selected findings from this report have been published in peer-reviewed journals. Details of the papers and links to the abstract in PubMed are below:
Selenium and prostate cancer: systematic review and meta-analysis. Hurst R, Hooper L, Norat T, Lau R, Aune D, Greenwood DC, Vieira R, Collings R, Harvey LJ, Sterne JA, Beynon R, Savovic J & Fairweather-Tait SJ. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012 96: 111-22. Abstract
Dairy products, calcium, and prostate cancer risk: A systematic review and meta-analysis of cohort studies. Aune D, Navarro Rosenblatt DA, Chan DSM, Vieira AR, Vieira R, Greenwood DC, Vatten LJ & Norat T. Am J Clin Nutr 2014 101: 87-117. Abstract
Who Is At Risk For Prostate Cancer
All men are at risk for prostate cancer, but African-American men are more likely to get prostate cancer than other men.
All men are at risk for prostate cancer. Out of every 100 American men, about 13 will get prostate cancer during their lifetime, and about 2 to 3 men will die from prostate cancer.
The most common risk factor is age. The older a man is, the greater the chance of getting prostate cancer.
Some men are at increased risk for prostate cancer. You are at increased risk for getting or dying from prostate cancer if you are African-American or have a family history of prostate cancer.
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Hereditary Breast And Ovarian Cancer Syndrome
Linked to family history is a chance that a man may have female relatives who had breast or ovarian cancer, or possibly both. Men who have female relatives that test positive for the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes may have inherited that gene too. In cases such as this, genetic counseling can be a good idea since men who have BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are at increased risk of aggressive prostate cancer and male breast cancer.
Drinking Milk Is Linked To Several Other Major Diseases
Beyond prostate cancer, drinking milk and eating dairy products can present serious risks for other diseases and environmental harm. Eating dairy can lead to higher levels of cholesterol, leading to blockages and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Doctors warned patients that dairy consumption can lead to a higher risk of heart disease. Dairy also contains higher levels of saturated fat, and by reducing saturated fat consumption, people can lower the risk of heart disease by 21 percent.
Similar to prostate cancer, dairy is linked to increased levels of breast cancer risks. One report found that increased levels of estrogen found in milk could lead to increased breast cancer risk by 30 percent. The Loma Linda researchers released a study regarding breast cancer and dairy consumption last February.
Consuming as little as one-quarter to one-third cup of dairy milk per day was associated with an increased risk of breast cancer of 30 percent, Fraser said at the time. By drinking up to one cup per day, the associated risk went up to 50 percent, and for those drinking two cups a day the risk went to 60 percent.”
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How Common Is Prostate Cancer
About one in nine men will receive a prostate cancer diagnosis during his lifetime. Prostate cancer is second only to skin cancer as the most common cancer affecting males. Close to 200,000 American men receive a diagnosis of prostate cancer every year. There are many successful treatments and some men dont need treatment at all. Still, approximately 33,000 men die from the disease every year.
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Effect Of Alcohol On The Progress Of Cancer When Established
A study of the influence of alcohol intake on tumor growth of hepatocellular carcinoma in patients with type C cirrhosis, found that alcohol influenced tumor volume doubling time .
A study of chick embryos suggests that alcohol stimulates their tumor growth by fueling the production of a growth factor that stimulates blood vessel development in tumors. A 2006 study in mice showed moderate drinking resulted in larger and stronger tumors via a process known as angiogenesis.
A study where high amounts of alcohol were given to mice suggests that it accelerates their cancer growth by speeding up the loss of body fat and depressing immune activity.
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Skin Cancer Risk Factors
But risk factors don’t tell us everything. Having a risk factor, or even several risk factors, does not mean that you will get the disease. And some people who get the disease may not have any known risk factors.
Basal and Squamous Cell CancerThese types of cancer usually occur on the sun exposed, areas or surfaces, of your skin. They generally affect surface cells that grow slowly, but may also go into deeper layers of the skin. These types of skin cancer are more easily cured if caught early.
MelanomaThis type of cancer can start anywhere on the skins surface, it does not have to be on an area exposed to the sun. It is curable if found in the very early stages.
- Ultraviolet light exposureExposure to ultraviolet rays is a major risk factor for most melanomas. Sunlight is the main source of UV rays. Tanning lamps and beds are also sources of UV rays. People who get a lot of UV exposure from these sources are at greater risk for skin cancer, including melanoma.
- MolesA nevus is a benign pigmented tumor. Moles are not usually present at birth but begin to appear in children and young adults. Most moles will never cause any problems, but a person who has many moles is more likely to develop melanoma.
How Common Prostate Cancer Is
In Ireland, prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men, after skin cancer. Every year, more than 3,890 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer in this country. This means that 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime. The number of men getting prostate cancer in Ireland is rising- between 1995 and 2007, the number of new cases more than doubled. Although there are many men with this disease, most men do not die from it.
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Links Between Prostate And Breast Cancer Development
The same team recently identified a link between drinking milk and breast cancer in women.
The parallels between our breast cancer in women paper a year ago and this paper relating to men, are striking. It seems possible that the same biological mechanisms are at work, the study author tells SWNS.
As further studies investigate how dairy consumption could increase prostate cancer risk, he advises prudent men with a family history of prostate cancer or other risk factors would be cautious about consuming even moderate levels of dairy milk as part of their diet until this is clarified.
If you think youre at higher-than-average risk, consider the alternatives of soy, oat, cashew, and other non-dairy milks, Prof. Fraser concludes.
In the U.S., the disease kills 26,000 men each year.
The study is published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
South West News Service writer Mark Waghorn contributed to this report.
Alcohol Industry Manipulation Of The Science On Alcohol And Cancer
A study published in 2017 has found that front organisations set up by the world’s leading alcohol companies are actively misleading the public about the risk of cancer due to alcohol consumption. The study drew parallels with the long-standing activities of the tobacco industry. It also claimed that there was a particular focus on misleading women drinkers, because much of the misinformation about cancer produced by these companies was found to be focused on breast cancer.
The alcohol industry around the world has also campaigned to remove laws that require alcoholic beverages to have cancer warning labels.
A 2019 survey conducted by the American Institute for Cancer Research showed that only 45% of Americans were aware of the associated risk of cancer due to alcohol consumption, up from 39% in 2017. The AICR believes that alcohol-related advertisements about the healthy cardiovascular benefits of modest alcohol overshadow messages about the increased cancer risks.
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Veterans & Chemical Exposure
Exposure to chemicals and defoliants can add to prostate cancer risk and severity. Studies have shown Vietnam and Korean War Veterans with exposure to defoliants like Agent Orange have a higher occurrence of prostate cancer. In fact, Veterans are about twice as likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer than men who have never served in the military. Read more about Veterans and prostate cancer here.
Farmers and other men who work with large amounts of pesticides can be at increased risk and those who are frequently exposed to metal cadmium like welders, battery manufacturers, and rubber workers are abnormally vulnerable to prostate cancer. There is some evidence that firefighters are also at higher risk.
Common Prostate Cancer Risk Factors
It’s important to remember that these risk factors are out of your control. You cant change the circumstances of your birth, your relatives, or your military service. Nor can you easily relocate to another region.
Prostate cancer sometimes runs in a family. Called familial prostate cancer, it is responsible for about 20% of diagnoses. About 15% of familial prostate cancer may happen because of a shared environment or lifestyle. For example, men who grow up together in a family with a high-fat diet, large amounts of red meat and dairy, and low vegetable/fruit consumption would have a shared, increased risk for prostate cancer. Another example is male relatives who grow up in an extreme northern location and suffer low Vitamin D levels, which could put them at an increased risk for prostate cancer.
A genetic mutation passed on through the family is called hereditary prostate cancer and accounts for roughly 5% of all prostate cancer cases. Having a first-degree relative with prostate cancer increases your risk 2-to-3 times more than someone who doesnt. Other situations within your family that indicate the possibility of hereditary prostate cancer include:
- Prostate cancer among 3 or more first-degree relatives
- Prostate cancer among 3 generations on the same side of the family
- Prostate cancer diagnosis before the age of 55 of 2 or more close relatives
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What Age Does Prostate Cancer Risk Increase Risk Factors
Prostate cancer risk increases with age, especially after age 50. Most prostate cancers are diagnosed between the ages of 65-69. Prostate cancer is rare before age 40, although it can still happen.
Men aged 65 years and older account for about two-thirds of all prostate cancer cases. However, as you get older, the disease becomes less aggressive, especially at about age 70.
If you are older than 45 and have a high risk of prostate cancer due to a family history of the disease or other factors, or if you are older than 50 and worried about prostate cancer, talk to your doctor about prostate cancer screenings.