Am I at risk for prostate cancer?

All men are at risk for prostate cancer. Approximately 1 in every 94 Malaysian men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime. The highest incidence was reported among Chinese men, followed by Indians and Malays (Malaysia National Cancer Registry Report 2012-2016).

 

A risk factor is anything that increases the chance of a person developing a disease such as prostate cancer.  Researchers have identified several risk factors associated with prostate cancer.

Age

Age is the most common risk factor of prostate cancer. As a man ages, the risk of getting prostate cancer increases. Prostate cancer is rare in men younger than 40 years old. The chances of having prostate cancer rises after the age of 50. Men are most commonly diagnosed between the ages 65 and 74.

Family history

A small percentage of prostate cancers (5-10%) are hereditary. These hereditary cancers are associated with inherited gene mutations and tend to occur earlier in life than non-inherited (sporadic) cases. A man may have an increased risk of prostate cancer if

  • He has a first-degree relative (a father or a brother) diagnosed at age < 65 years or family history of prostate cancer on his father’s or mother’s side of the family.
  • He has family members diagnosed with breast cancer, colorectal cancer, ovarian cancer, pancreatic cancer or melanoma.
  • He has female relatives diagnosed with breast cancer related to BRCA (a breast cancer gene) at age < 50 years.

Diet

There is no clear research evidence that shows diet and nutrition play a role in causing or preventing the development of prostate cancer. Some studies suggested that a diet high in animal fat or low in vegetables may increase one’s risk of prostate cancer.