Medical professionals aren’t completely sure what causes prostate cancer. It’s likely that several different factors come into play, but researchers are still investigating which factors have the greatest impact and how they cause the cancer to develop. At a very basic level, researchers do know that prostate cancer develops as a result of DNA mutations in one or more prostate cells.
Types of prostate cancer gene mutations
Inherited gene mutations
Some people are born with tumor suppressor genes (RNASEL, BRCA1 and BRCA2) that don’t function the way they should. This can allow cancerous cells to develop, grow and eventually form a tumor.
Acquired gene mutations
These changes occur over a person's lifetime and are found only in cells that come from the original mutated cell. Although the correlation isn’t fully understood, being obese or over the age of 50 are risk factors for prostate cancer. These aren’t proven causes of prostate cancer, but rather can make a person’s DNA more likely to mutate over time.
Increased hormone levels
High amounts of androgens (male hormones, such as testosterone) may program prostate cells to grow at an abnormally high level, and DNA mutations may occur as a result.
Risk factors of prostate cancer
While there’s no definitive way to predict if someone will develop pancreatic cancer, there are several factors that have been linked to a heightened risk. Some known risk factors for pancreatic cancer include:
- Being age 65 or older
- Having an immediate family member who has had prostate cancer
- Eating a diet that’s low in fruits and vegetables, and high in red meat and full-fat dairy
At Moffitt Cancer Center, we have a multispecialty team of researchers and physicians who are dedicated to learning more about prostate cancer. We’re constantly studying how the condition develops and spreads; at the same time, we’re also exploring the newest and most innovative advancements in treatment. This commitment to groundbreaking research has earned us the honor of being recognized as a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center.
To schedule an appointment with our Genitourinary Oncology Program, call 1-888-663-3488, or fill out a new patient registration form. Our oncologists can explain more about what causes prostate cancer and what your treatment options are if you’ve been recently diagnosed.