The American Cancer Society estimates that 192,280 new cases of prostate cancer will occur in the United States during 2009. Prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in American men, other than skin cancer. The only well-established risk factors for prostate cancer are age, race/ethnicity and family history of the disease.
Who is at Risk
for Prostate Cancer?
• Age: The chance of getting prostate cancer goes up as a man gets older. About two out of every three prostate cancers are found in men over the age of 65.
• Race: For unknown reasons, prostate cancer is more common among African-American men than among men of other races. African-American men are also more likely to have a more advanced disease when it is found and are more likely to die of the disease.
• Family history: Men with close family members (father or brother) who have had prostate cancer are more likely to get it themselves, especially if their relatives were young when they got the disease.
• Diet: The exact role of diet in prostate cancer is not clear, but several different factors have been studied. Men who eat a lot of red meat or high-fat dairy products seem to have a greater chance of getting prostate cancer. These men also tend to eat fewer fruits and vegetables. Doctors are not sure which of these factors causes the risk to go up.
Men should discuss the pros and cons of testing with their physician and then decide if prostate cancer testing is the right thing to do. Here are a few guidelines:
• Men at average risk for prostate cancer who can be expected to live at least 10 years should have this discussion with their doctor beginning at age 50.
• African-American men and men with a family history of prostate cancer are at higher risk, and should have this talk at age 45.
• Men with several family members who had prostate cancer at a young age should have this discussion at age 40.
If, after this talk, a man decides to be tested, the tests should include a yearly PSA blood test and digital rectal examination.
Call the American Cancer Society at (8000 227-2345 or visit cancer.org to learn more about prostate cancer.