Prostate Cancer Reviewed by Doctors Reviewed by Dr Wong Siew Wei

Causes of Prostate Cancer, Risk Factors, and Prevention

Causes of prostate cancer in Singapore

The exact causes of prostate cancer in an individual patient are unclear. Although risk factors often influence the chance of developing cancer, most do not directly or by themselves cause cancer. Some men with several identified risk factors never develop cancer, while others with no known risk factors do. Knowing the risk factors and discussing them with a doctor may help achieve a more informed lifestyle and health care choices. Understanding the risk factors may help males take preventive measures to reduce the probability of developing prostate cancer.

Risk Factors

  • Age: This is the biggest risk factor. The risk of developing prostate cancer increases with age, especially after 50. Around 60% of prostate cancers are diagnosed in males who are 65 or older.
  • Family history: If a first-degree blood relative, such as the father, brother, or child, has been diagnosed with prostate cancer, the risk of developing prostate cancer is 2 to 3 times higher than the average risk. This risk increases even further with the number of relatives diagnosed with prostate cancer.
  • Ethnicity: People with African ancestry have a higher chance of prostate cancer, followed by people with Caucasian ancestry, and then people with Asian ancestry.
  • Inherited cancer predisposition genes: Being born with a gene mutation is also one of the risks for prostate cancer. Some inherited genetic mutations increase the lifetime risk of prostate cancer that tend to be more aggressive. For instance, certain mutations to the BRCA2 genes can increase the chances of contracting prostate cancer.
  • Diet: Some studies indicate that men who eat a high-fat diet may have a higher chance of developing prostate cancer.

Prostate Cancer Prevention

Researchers continue to look into what factors cause prostate cancer, including practices to prevent it. Although there is no established way to completely prevent prostate cancer, you may be able to lower your risk. Talk with your doctor for more information about your personal risk of cancer. Experts suggests adopting these habits may help reduce the risk of prostate cancer:

  • A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and legumes, such as peas and beans, may lower the risk of prostate cancer. It is however, uncertain which nutrients are directly responsible.
  • Reduce fat and dairy intake.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight and regular daily exercise for 30 minutes or more

[Updated 12 Aug 22]

Reviewed by Dr Wong Siew Wei - Singapore Oncologist
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This article is informative only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.