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Risk factors

It is uncertain what causes prostate cancer, but there are risk factors that are linked to the disease including:

  • Age - The chance of developing prostate cancer increases with age.
  • Race - African-American men are at greater risk than caucasion men and are twice as likely to die of the disease.
  • Nationality - Prostate cancer is most common in North America and northwestern Europe and less common in Asia, Africa, Central America and South America.
  • Diet - Men whose diets include high-fat dairy and red meat have a greater risk for developing prostate cancer.
  • Exercise - Getting enough exercise and maintaining a healthy weight may help reduce risks.
  • Family History - Men with a father and/or brother who have had prostate cancer are at a higher risk for developing it.


Prostate cancer might be prevented by maintaining a healthy diet. The American Cancer Society recommends a diet low in red meats (especially those high in fat) and high in vegetables, fruits, and grains.

Some studies suggest that taking 50 milligrams of vitamin E daily can lower the risk of prostate cancer.

Men also should have:

  • Yearly digital rectal exam beginning at age 50, 45 if at high risk
  • Annual PSA blood test beginning at age 50, 45 if at high risk

Signs and Symptoms

Common symptoms of prostate cancer include:

  • Urinary frequency
  • Difficulty with urination
  • Pelvic pain

For more information on prostate cancer prevention, contact the Norton Cancer Institute Prevention & Early Detection Program at 1-800-555-6772 or email  A health care professional will research and respond to your question within 48-hours.  Exceptions may include weekends and holidays. 

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