Causes of prostate cancer 

It is not known exactly what causes prostate cancer, although a number of things can increase your risk of developing the condition.

These include:

  • Age – risk rises as you get older and most cases are diagnosed in men over 50 years of age.
  • Ethnic group – prostate cancer is more common among men of African-Caribbean and African descent than in men of Asian  descent.
  • Family history – having a brother or father who developed prostate cancer under the age of 60 seems to increase the risk of you developing it. Research also shows that having a close female relative who developed breast cancer may also increase your risk of developing prostate cancer. 
  • Obesity – recent research suggests that there may be a link between obesity and prostate cancer.
  • Exercise  men who regularly exercise have also been found to be at lower risk of developing prostate cancer.
  • Diet  research is ongoing into the links between diet and prostate cancer. There is evidence that a diet high in calcium is linked to an increased risk of developing prostate cancer.

In addition, some research has shown that prostate cancer rates appear to be lower in men who eat foods containing certain nutrients including lycopene, found in cooked tomatoes and other red fruit, and selenium, found in brazil nuts. However, more research is needed.

Want to know more?

Page last reviewed: 03/01/2015

Next review due: 03/01/2017