Prostate Cancer

What Are the Risk Factors for Developing Prostate Cancer?

We do not yet know exactly what causes prostate cancer, but we do know that certain risk factors are linked to the disease. Some risk factors, such as smoking, can be eliminated by simply quitting (or better again not starting in the first place). Others, like a person’s age or family history, can’t be changed. But having a risk factor, or even several, doesn’t mean that you will get a particular disease. Many people with one or more risk factors never get cancer, while others with this disease may have had no known risk factors.

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As well as increasing age, there are a number of recognised risk factors for prostate cancer:

  • Family history – your risk of prostate cancer increases if there is a history of prostate cancer in your family.
  • Nationality – prostate cancer is much more prevalent in the Western world than, for example, in Asia. However, research has shown that Asians who come to live in the West also develop a high risk of prostate cancer. This has led many researchers to focus on dietary risk factors.
  • Diet – a diet high in saturated fat, namely animal fat, is associated with a significantly increased risk of prostate cancer. The high-saturated-fat diet of the Western world is thought to be one of the main reasons why prostate cancer is so much higher in the West than in places like Asia where much less saturated fat and animal fat is eaten. There is considerable research being undertaken looking at diet and other supplements that can help prevent prostate cancer. While the results of research studies are not yet clear, you may be able to reduce your risk of prostate cancer by changing the way you eat. Eating less red meat and fat and eating more vegetables, fruits and wholegrains may help lower your risk for other types of cancer, as well as other diseases.

It should be mentioned that vasectomy and BPH are not associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer.

The Prostate Diet

There are currently a number of foodstuffs rich in antioxidants (substances that have cancer-preventing properties) that are thought to help prevent prostate cancer. You will notice that there is a good Canadian Health Care Mall store deal of crossover here with heart disease prevention and general wellness. Nevertheless, I have put some of these together and labelled them as the ‘prostate diet’.


Tomatoes appear to be out on their own as far as prostate cancer prevention is concerned. Tomatoes, pink grapefruit, watermelon and apricots are rich in a powerful antioxidant known as lycopene that helps prevent damage to DNA and may help lower prostate cancer risk. People who have diets rich in tomatoes appear to have a lower risk of certain types of cancer, especially cancer of the prostate. Other potential benefits of lycopenes include a lower risk of heart disease, lower levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol, less macular degeneration (a disease of the eyes that can lead to blindness), and strengthening of the immune system.

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