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Like many cancers, how tumours in the prostate form and develop is still largely unknown. However, we do know that they can be influenced by a few factors.

  • Family history: if a first-degree relative (e.g. your father or brother) has had prostate cancer, this increases the risk of you developing it too by 2-3 times. The more family members affected, even if they are not first-degree the higher the risk of you developing the disease.
  • Age: as you age, the risk increases. Over 99% of cases of prostate cancer are in men aged 50 and over.
  • Ethnicity: for reasons yet unknown, black men are more likely to get prostate cancer than any other ethnicity, while those of Asian origin are less likely than average.
  • Obesity, exercise and diet: Prostate cancer is commoner in men who are overweight and who take little exercise. Dietary factors that increase the risk of prostate cancer include a high intake of saturated fat (present in red meat and dairy products) and a low intake of fruit and vegetables, which contain natural antioxidants and anti-cancer compounds.

If you are looking to prevent prostate cancer, unfortunately there is no single cast-iron prevention available. Having said that, we recommend that men looking to minimise the chances:

  • exercise 3 times a week for at least 20 minutes.
  • control their weight.
  • eat red meat no more than 3 times a week.
  • eat and drink dairy products in moderation.
  • eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, especially tomatoes which are rich in lycopene.

Next chapter: symptoms of prostate cancer

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