While the cause of prostate cancer is not completely understood, researchers have discovered several factors that might affect the risk of developing it. These risk factors include:
- Age: Prostate cancer is rare in men under the age of 40; yet, the possibility of developing it increases rapidly after age 50. Approximately two out of three prostate cancers are found in men over the age of 65.
- Race/ethnicity: Prostate cancer occurs more often in African American men than in men of other races. African American men are also more likely to be diagnosed at an advanced stage, and are more than twice as likely to die of prostate cancer as Caucasian men. Prostate cancer occurs less often in Asian American and Hispanic/Latino men than in non-Hispanic whites. The reasons for these racial and ethnic differences are not clear.
- Family history: Prostate cancer seems to run in some families, which suggests there may be an inherited or genetic factor. Having a father or brother with prostate cancer more than doubles a man's risk of developing this disease. (The risk is higher for men who have a brother with the disease than for those with an affected father.)
- Diet: Men who consume a lot of red meat or high-fat dairy products, as well as less fruits and vegetables, appear to have a slightly higher chance of developing prostate cancer.