Common Prostate Cancer Causes And Risk Factors

Prostate cancer occurs in the prostate, a gland in the male reproductive system. Read more about prostate cancer here.

Picture of a human pointing at where the cancer is

What are the risk factors of prostate cancer?

Risk factors are those which increase the chance of developing a disease in a person. These make the person’s body more vulnerable in developing the cancer. Most risk do not cause cancer directly. They cause non-cancerous conditions which eventually develop into cancers.
Following are the risk factors of prostate cancer:


Prostate cancer is often observed in men who are above 50 years. 80% of men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer are above 65 years, which shows that prostate cancer increases with age. However, treatment for these people results in unique complications which are difficult to cope up with.

Race and ethnicity:

When compared to white men, black men are at a higher risk of developing prostate cancer at an early age. Black men have shown aggressive growth of tumours too. These differences arise due to genetic, socioeconomic, or other factors. Hispanic men are observed to have lower risk of developing prostate cancer which leads to death, when compared to non-Hispanic men.

Family history:

20% of prostate cancers are familial prostate cancers which are a result of abnormal combinations of shared genes and environmental or lifestyle factors. Hereditary prostate cancers are those which are inherited from relatives or passed down from previous generations. These are caused due the mutations in the genes. Men whose family history includes the following characteristics are at an increased risk in developing prostate cancer:

  • Three or more first-degree relatives with prostate cancer
  • Three generations on the same side of the family have been diagnosed with prostate cancer.
  • Two or more close first-degree relatives diagnosed with prostate cancer increases the risk of developing the cancer by two to three times.

Hereditary breast and ovarian cancer (HBOC) syndrome:

Men having HBOC, which is associated with DNA-repair mutations to the BRCA1 and/or BRCA2 genes, at a higher risk of developing an aggressive form of prostate cancer. However, this contributes to very few cases.

Chemical exposure:

Veterans who are exposed to a chemical called Agent Orange during the Vietnam war are at a higher risk of developing familial prostate cancer. People work in tire plants, farmers and painters are also vulnerable to the cancer. Exposure to levels of BPA toxins also contribute in developing prostate cancer.

Hormonal imbalances:

Men with elevated levels of estrogen and testosterone have an increased risk of developing prostate cancer. The men who take testosterone injection for bodybuilding have to be extra careful, as the higher levels of hormones in the body trigger and encourage prostate cancer.


Inflammation near the prostate area can damage the DNA of the cells which stimulates the normal prostate to become cancerous triggering the growth of prostate cancer.


According to a few researches, obese men have lower testosterone levels, elevated estrogen levels, high levels of insulin-growth factor and large amounts of saturated fats in their diet which contributes to the development of prostate cancer. Obesity also leads to diabetes or metabolic syndrome which are also associated with prostate cancer.


Consumption of food that promote inflammation and contain cancer-promoting substances are major risk factors for the development of prostate cancer. Men whose diet includes high levels of fats, red meat and food with low fiber content are more inclined to develop prostate cancer.


Men whose daily activity lacks physical activity tend to become obese, which encourages the growth of prostate cancer.

High calcium intake:

High levels of calcium in the body leads to prostate cancer in a few men. Consuming foods that have high levels of calcium or overdose of calcium supplements can trigger the growth of prostate cancer.

To know how prostate cancer is diagnosed, click here.

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