Prostate Cancer – Cause and Risk Factors

Prostate Cancer – Cause and Risk Factors

Prostate Cancer – Cause and Risk Factors The causes of prostate cancer are still largely unknown. However, certain factors are known that increase the risk of prostate cancer. The most important factors are age and familial predisposition. In addition, environmental influences such as diet, living conditions and possibly working conditions also play a role.


Age is the most important risk factor for prostate cancer. While the probability of developing prostate cancer within the next 10 years is around 1: 220 with a 45-year-old, the risk increases to 1:17 with a 75-year-old.

Family predisposition

Men who have had prostate cancer in close relatives have an increased risk of developing themselves. If the father is affected, the risk rises to double, while in a brother with prostate cancer it is up to three times as high as in the rest of the male population. The more family members are ill and the younger they were at the time of the diagnosis , the more the risk for male relatives to get prostate cancer.

Important: Men whose close relatives are affected by prostate carcinomas should be examined for the age of 40 from the age of 40.


Hormones are an essential factor in the development of the disease, although its exact role is not quite clear. It is now known, however, that without the male sex hormone testosterone, which is mainly produced in the testes, no prostate cancer can arise. Testosterone is necessary for the function of the prostate. However, it also promotes the growth of prostate cancer cells. Thus, men who have suffered a testicular loss during a young age – before or immediately after puberty – rarely develop prostate cancer.

However, men who are treated with testosterone because of an underactive function of the testes (hypogonadism) do not have an increased risk of cancer.

Other risk factors

Smoking and alcohol generally increase cancer risk. But nutrition also plays an important role. For example, prostate cancer is more common among men of African origin than whites or Asians. In Europe and North America, the disease is relatively frequent, but in East Asia (China and Japan) is rather rare. There is some evidence that these differences can be traced back to diet and life, but genetic differences are also conceivable.

As far as the influence of obesity and occupational risk is concerned, there is as yet no consistent opinion on the part of the experts. The available data from scientific investigations are so complex and contradictory that no conclusions can be drawn about the risk for prostate cancer. In contrast, it has been shown that physical inactivity increases the overall cancer risk.