Risk Factors of Prostate Cancer: Who Are Most Likely to Have It?

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Aside from skin cancer, prostate cancer has been reported to be the most common type among American men. It has been projected that more than 200,000 new cases of this condition will be diagnosed in the U.S. and more than 27,000 male patients will die of the disease in 2006. Statistics also showed that a little over 1.8 million American men are survivors of the condition.

Prostate cancer has been found to occur in higher percentages among African Americans than any other race. Compared with Asian and European countries, the United States is where the disease occurs more commonly. The reasons for these percentages are not conclusive. Some experts are claiming that this might be due to the diet of Asian men which is rich in vegetables and fruits as opposed to Western males’ red meat-rich diet. In the case of higher number of confirmed cases in the United States, medical researchers are asserting that this might be due to better diagnostics systems in the country compared with less developed areas.

Among the factors associated with the risk of acquiring cancer of the prostate, age is the primary culprit. The condition is quite uncommon among men aged below 45, but the chance of having it increases rapidly after age 50. In terms of genetics, men with a first degree relative, like a brother or a father, who has the condition have been found to be at higher risk of developing the cancer. Although no study has yet to find what particular gene affects a man’s chances of developing this condition, statistics have shown that those who have affected relatives tend to develop cancer in the prostate as they reach the common affected age.

Diet has also been implicated as a risk factor of this type of cancer. For those who eat a lot of red meat and high fat dairy products, the risk of developing the cancer is believed to be higher. Smokers have also been considered as among the high risk groups. This might be because cigarettes and tobacco have been credited as contributing factors in DNA damage and mutation, although scientists have yet to map out the exact process by which smoking contributes to the development of cancer in the prostate.

Since cancer of the prostate is a slow developing type, it might not be diagnosed for years. Autopsy reports have shown that some men who have died of other causes have been found to have cancer in their prostates but have shown no symptoms and have not suffered or been affected by the disease. The condition, being more common among older men particularly those who are over 50 years old, can just be present without showing itself and without bothering the person; and eventually, the patient might die of other causes without the cancer ever manifesting itself or making the individual suffer.

Despite being a slow developing type in majority of the cases, it is still an advantage if prostate cancer can be diagnosed at its earliest stage. Numerous treatments and management methods have been developed through the years which have provided higher survival rates and caused the number of deaths to decline every year. Scientists are hopeful that eventually, this condition will be absolutely explained and prevention techniques will be developed.

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