Risk Factors

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According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), studies have found these risk factors for prostate cancer:

  • Age over 65: The main risk factor for prostate cancer is age. As you get older, the chance of getting prostate cancer increases. Most men with prostate cancer in the United States are over 65. In men under 45, this disease is rare.
  • Family history: You are at higher risk if your father, brother or son had prostate cancer.
  • Race: Prostate cancer is more common among African American men than Hispanic/Latino or white men. It is less common among Asian/Pacific Islander and American Indian/Alaska Native men.
  • Certain prostate changes: Men with cells called high-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN) may have an increased risk of prostate cancer. Under a microscope, these prostate cells look abnormal.
  • Certain genome changes: Researchers have found specific regions on certain chromosomes that are linked to prostate cancer risk. Recent studies have shown that if a man has a genetic change in one or more of these regions, the risk of prostate cancer may be increased, and the risk increases with the number of genetic changes that are found. In addition, other studies have shown an elevated risk of prostate cancer among men with changes in certain genes, such as BRCA1 and BRCA2, according to the NCI.

Having a risk factor, however, doesn't mean that a man will develop prostate cancer. Many other possible risk factors are also under study.

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