What are the risk factors for prostate cancer?

It is still not known why some men develop prostate cancer and some do not. Different studies have shown that certain risk factors exist that can predispose individuals to this type of cancer. However, there are also other factors that are unknown. Exposure to risk factors means there is more likelihood of developing prostate cancer, although risk factors can exist without development of the disease, or even cases that show no sign of risk factors and still develop the disease.

In some studies it has been found that the following risk factors are related to prostate cancer:

  • Age: According to studies carried out in the United States, prostate cancer is found mainly among men older than 55 years of age. The average age of patients at which diagnosis of prostate cancer takes place is 70.
  • Cases of prostate cancer among family members. The risk of suffering from prostate cancer is greater if a father or brother has had the disease.
  • Race. This disease is much more frequent among black rather than white men, while it is less common in Asian men.
  • Diet and food factors. Diets rich in fats contitute a factor of predisposition. It has been suggested that foodstuffs containing lycopene, such as tomatoes, may have a protective effect (Source: "New England Journal of Medicine", Nelson).