Understanding prostate cancer risk factors early in life is important because if you are a male you are at jeopardy for developing this type cancer. Around one in every six men will be diagnosed with this disease; however, only one in 34 will die from it. Considering this and other factors, like age, race, and family history, you can determine your estimated level of threat.
This cancer develops when an overgrowth of cells occurs in the gland (located below the bladder and in front of the rectum), which can cause some men to experience urinary problems, like burning or pain, and possible discomfort.
By the age of 50 years, most men have some form of change in their prostate, called prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN). Most men go their whole lives without even knowing of these changes; however, if the doctor finds a high count of PIN under a microscope, via biopsy, there is a greater chance of the gland containing cancer cells.
The risk factors mentioned previously are what trigger doctors to test for prostate cancer. Among those factors the greatest known is age, which increases chances of developing the disease after the age of 50 in White men and after 40 in Black men.
These men are even at greater threat if they are related to someone with the disease. If the male has a sibling or father that has been diagnosed, it doubles his chances of developing it and even more when multiple family members have been diagnosed. Screening for these categories of men should be started as early as 40.
The second most common threat is race, which results in African Americans showing a 60% greater chance of developing the cancer over white Americans. Another interesting fact occurs when a Japanese or African man moves to the United States; he increases his chances of developing prostate cancer more than if he were to stay in his home country.
Diet also plays a role in the cancer development. High fat consumption is said to be a main contributor, especially in countries that use meat and dairy as the main staple (ex. U.S.). This is why experts advocate men should consume more fruits and vegetables high in the antioxidant, lycopene.
Sources of this bioflavonoid are found in red fruits and vegetables, such as tomatoes (one of the best sources), watermelon, pink grapefruit, apricots, and pink guavas.
You want more prostate cancer risk factors? How about this one: men who live north of the 40 degree latitude line in the U.S. are reported to have the highest risk for dying from the cancer.
This means that additional an risk factor can also be related to inadequate sun exposure. Vitamin D plays a role in decreasing the chance of developing the disease. Obesity, smoking, lack of vegetables, tall men, sedentary life, and high calcium consumption also play a role in developing aggressive prostate cancer.
Knowing this information will help you prepare for your prostate’s potential health. Seeking medical attention and guidance is definitely your first step. Know your body, your family history, and this knowledge because it will help you become a well-informed advocate for yourself. Information is vital to your health and survival.