Did you know that prostate cancer is the second most common type of cancer among men in the U.S.? Prostate cancer happens to men when abnormal cell growth occurs in the prostate gland. A male may have prostate cancer and never have symptoms or never have it seriously threaten the health of the man. In a small percentage of cases, the man needs to be treated for prostate cancer and most men who have it, do not die from it. Prostate cancer has a very favorable prognosis.
What does a man get prostate cancer, in other words what are the causes of prostate cancer? Actually, like so many diseases the cause is unknown. It is known that prostate cancer is not contagious. Studies have shown that there are risk factors for prostate cancer and that having risk factors for prostate cancer does make a man more likely to develop the cancer.
If you are unsure of what a risk factor is, a risk factor is something that if present may increase your chances for developing a certain disease. If a man has any of the following risk factors he may have an increased chance for developing prostate cancer:
Age happens to be the main risk factor for prostate cancer. Prostate cancer rarely occurs in men younger than 45. As a man ages past the age of 45 his risk of getting prostate cancer increases as he ages. Statistics show that most of the men who develop prostate cancer are over the age of 65.
If a man has a father or brother that has prostate cancer his risk of developing prostate cancer increases. If a man is African-American he has a higher chance of developing prostate cancer than a Caucasian male does. Prostate cancer is also less common in men of Asian or American Indian heritage.
Men who have been diagnosed with high-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN) may have a higher risk of developing prostate cancer because these are abnormal cells and prostate cancer is a growth of abnormal cells.
There are also studies that show that men who’s diet contains high levels of animal fat may also have an increased chance of developing prostate cancer. Males who have a diet that is high in fruits and vegetables have a lower risk for developing prostate cancer than men who eat meat.
Scientists are also studying whether or not obesity, smoking, lack of exercise and having a virus passed through sexual activity increases the risk for males of developing prostate cancer. At this time the scientists have not seen conclusive evidence that these things do increase the risk for this cancer but the studies are still being conducted.
There are studies that show that men who have had vasectomies are not at an increased risk for prostate cancer, so that is good news for a lot of men.
Even if a man has one of the above known risks for prostate cancer it does not mean that he will get it. Aging past the age of 65 is the only risk factor in which men are known to develop prostate cancer.
Males with risk factors who are concerned about developing prostate cancer should speak with their doctors.