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Things Secretly Increasing Your Prostate Cancer Risk, Says Expert

You can actually do something about these risk factors.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

Prostate cancer is the number two cancer cause of death for men after lung cancer. There are about 268,490 new cases of prostate cancer and 34,500 deaths from prostate cancer per year. The American Cancer Society's recent estimates for prostate cancer in the United States suggest that about 1 man in 8 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime and about 1 man in 41 will die of prostate cancer. So it's important to know what the risk factors are for prostate cancer. Some are risk factors you cannot change. Some you can. Read on to learn about things increasing your prostate cancer—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


These Factors You Cannot Change

family eating breakfast

First the bad news: there are three main prostate cancer risk factors you cannot change:

  • Age: The risk for prostate cancer goes up as men get older. About 6 in 10 cases are diagnosed in men aged 65 or older, and it is rare before age 40. The average age at the time of diagnosis is about 66.
  • Family history: Having a father or brother with prostate cancer more than doubles a man's risk of developing this disease.
  • African-American ethnicity: African-American men have a greater risk of prostate cancer than white men. They are also more likely to be diagnosed at a younger age and to have more aggressive disease.

But the good news is that there are many risk factors you can change, read on to find what you can do about them.



Doctor measuring obese man waist body fat.

Obesity can cause prostate cancer by promoting inflammation throughout the body which may be associated either with initiation or progression of several cancers, including prostate cancer. Obesity increases the levels of hormones that can promote cancer growth. Hormones that promote prostate cancer growth insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1). Obesity is also correlated with low physical activity.


You Consume Too Much Animal Fat

carl's jr. burgers
Carl's Jr. / Facebook

Diet high in animal fat is a risk factor since it increases circulating levels of testosterone and other hormones that can promote cancer cell growth. Well done red meat can produce carcinogens call heterocyclic amines (HCAs). These are may cause prostate cancer.


And Too Many Dairy Products

dairy products

Diets rich in calcium also increase the risk of prostate cancer although this may be associated with diets high in dairy products.


You Have High Level of Testosterone

Testosterone boosters

High level of testosterone, either naturally occurring or as a result of hormone therapy for conditions such as benign prostatic hyperplasia, may increase the risk of developing prostate cancer.

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You Have Been Exposed to These Kind of Chemicals

Business man in glasses and warm clothes smoking cigarette on the street

Exposure to certain chemicals, such as cadmium, which is found in cigarettes, and pesticides.


You Drink Too Much

Friends Drinking Red Wine

Drinking too much alcohol: Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can damage the DNA in cells, which can lead to the development of cancerous cells.

RELATED: Daily Habits You Must Follow If High Cholesterol Runs In Your Family


You Are Still Smoking

Man Smoking On Bright Sunny Day Outdoor

Smoking cigarettes: Smoking cigarettes has been linked to an increased risk of prostate cancer. This is due to the tobacco products damaging the DNA in cells and leading to cancerous growths.


What You Can Do to Reduce Your Risk

middle-aged man chatting with doctor

If you are concerned about your risk of prostate cancer, talk to your doctor about ways to reduce your risk. These may include lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet, avoiding excess alcohol, and getting regular exercise, as well as screenings for early detection.

Screening for the early detection of prostate cancer involves a digital rectal exam (DRE) and a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test. The DRE allows the doctor to feel the prostate for any lumps or unusual growths. The PSA test measures the level of PSA in the blood, which can be elevated in men with prostate cancer.

If you have any of these risk factors for prostate cancer, talk to your doctor about whether screening is right for you. Early detection is key to successful treatment. And to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Gethin Williams MD Ph.D. is the Medical Director of Imaging & Interventional Specialists.

Gethin Williams, MD, Ph.D
Gethin Williams, MD, Ph.D. is the Medical Director of Imaging & Interventional Specialists. Read more about Gethin
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