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Published on August 17, 2017

3 Factors That Increase Your Risk of Prostate Cancer

3 Factors That Increase Your Risk of Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in men. In fact, according to the American Cancer Society, one in seven men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. It is also the third leading type of fatal cancer in men behind lung and colorectal cancers.

The prostate is part of the male reproductive system. It is a small gland that sits below the bladder and produces seminal fluid. This fluid carries sperm from the testicles when a male ejaculates. As you age, the prostate grows larger and may become susceptible to cancerous growth. Here are three factors that increase the risk of prostate cancer:

  1. Your age. Prostate cancer is rare in men under the age of 40, but chances of being diagnosed increase substantially after 50. In fact, 60 percent of all cases occur in men over the age of 65.
  2. Your ethnicity. African-American men are diagnosed with prostate cancer more than any other race. African-American men are twice as likely to die of this type of cancer than Caucasian men. Asian-American and Hispanic men are diagnosed less often than either African-Americans or Caucasians.
  3. Your family history. Certain genes passed from your parents may affect your risk for prostate cancer. If your father, brother or son has it, you are twice as likely to develop the disease.

Symptoms of prostate cancer revolve around urination or ejaculation issues. The most common symptoms are: 

  • Difficulty urinating, or a weak or interrupted stream.
  • Having to urinate with little to no build-up sensation.
  • Urinating with great frequency, especially at night.
  • Pain or a burning sensation while urinating.
  • Seeing blood in your urine or semen.
  • Painful ejaculations.
  • A pain in the back, pelvis or hips that doesn’t stop.

Please note that these symptoms may be caused by conditions other than prostate cancer. But if you are concerned, consult your primary care provider or have a prostate cancer screening. It is recommended that men have regular screenings beginning at age 50, or earlier if they fall into a higher-risk category.

About the Author

Christine Brannock, RN, BSN, OCN

Christine Brannock, RN, BS, OCN is the Oncology Outreach Manager at the Cone Health Cancer Center