How Common Is Prostate Cancer?

Prostate cancer is currently the second leading cause of cancer deaths, in men, in most of the Western World. Men have a one in five chance of being diagnosed with prostate cancer whilst women have a one in eight chance of breast cancer. Yet people are much more aware of breast cancer symptoms, signs and treatment. Perhaps because government funding for breast cancer research tends to outweigh the amount spent on prostate cancer!

We don’t yet know why prostate cancer develops or exactly what causes it. Age appears to the major factor (your risk increase significantly as you age), but diet, genetics and environmental factors also play a part.

Age: Cancer of the prostate is rare before age 50. The number of cases in men aged 70 or over increases dramatically. It follows that as we are living longer, more people are falling into that risk group.

Diet: We know that a high fat diet combined with lack of exercise leads to obesity. It also increases your risk of developing cancer. Prostate cancer, like breast cancer, is much less common in countries like Japan. You could think that was a result of genetics. But when Japanese men move to the US and swap their diet for our predominantly high fat diet, their incidence of this disease significantly increases. In second and third generation Japanese families, the likelihood of men contracting this disease is only slightly less than their European counterparts.

Did you know that it is not just men that get prostate cancer, so do domestic dogs. Some medics believe this proves that diet is a factor, as dogs can be fed the same food as their human owners.

Race: Certain races are more at risk of this type of cancer but whether this depends on race or inadequate screening has yet to be determined. In the US, the risk for African Americans is almost double that of their neighbours.

Swedish men have a higher risk than German men who in turn have a higher risk than Israelis of developing this disease. Why? Nobody is certain but it does appear that diet, sun exposure and soil content may be some of the factors involved.

Summary: Age, diet and race play a part in your risk of developing Prostrate Cancer. In fact, some people will have you believe that every man will eventually get this form of cancer if he lives long enough. This way to thinking is potentially very dangerous as it can prevent people seeking and benefiting from cancer screening.

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