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What Causes Prostate Cancer?

Prostate cancer affects mainly older men. Four out of five cases are diagnosed in men over 65, but less than 1% in men under 50. Though uncommon, prostate cancer can be seen in men even in their 30's and 40's. Men with a family history of prostate cancer are more likely to develop prostate cancer than the general population.

On a case-by-case basis, doctors cannot say with certainty what causes prostate cancer, but experts generally agree that diet contributes to the risk. Men who consume large amounts of fat -- particularly from red meat and other sources of animal fat -- are more likely to develop advanced prostate cancer. The disease is much more common in countries where meat and dairy products are dietary staples than in countries where the basic diet consists of rice, soybean products, and vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cole slaw, or sauerkraut.

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Treatment for Early-Stage Prostate Cancer

When you’re diagnosed with prostate cancer at an early stage, usually stage I or II, it means the disease hasn't spread outside your prostate gland. That means you have a few good treatment options to choose from. It’s important to pick one that’s right for your condition and one that will give you the best quality of life. Talk with your doctor about the benefits and side effects of each type. Ask a lot of questions, so you can find the therapy that will give you the best results, with the fewest...

Read the Treatment for Early-Stage Prostate Cancer article > >

The underlying factor linking diet and prostate cancer is probably hormonal. Fats stimulate increased production of testosterone and other hormones, and testosterone acts to speed the growth of prostate cancer. High testosterone levels may stimulate dormant prostate cancer cells into activity. Some findings msuggest that high testosterone levels also influence the initial onset of prostate cancer. Eating meat may be risky for other reasons, such as meat cooked at high temperatures produces cancer-causing substances that directly affect the prostate. Other risk factors have been noted. Welders, battery manufacturers, rubber workers, and workers frequently exposed to the metal cadmium seem to be abnormally vulnerable to prostate cancer.

The following are associated with an increased risk of advanced prostate cancer: Height, high body mass index, low physical activity, smoking, low tomato sauce consumption, high calcium intake, high linoleic acid intake, African-American race, and a positive family history.

No proven link exists between prostate cancer and an active sex life, vasectomy, masturbation, use of alcohol or tobacco, circumcision, infertility, infection of the prostate, or a common noncancerous condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Most, if not all, men will experience an enlarged prostate as they age.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Arnold Wax, MD on May 01, 2012

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