What are the most prevalent risk factors in developing prostate cancer?

Expert Opinion published on June 28, 2013 in Basic facts
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Daniel Petrylak, MD
Director, Genitourinary Oncology Program
Co-director, Signal Transduction Research Program
Yale University Smilow Cancer Center
New Haven, Connecticut
What are the most prevalent risk factors in developing prostate cancer?

Hello, my name is Dr. Daniel Petrylak, and I am the director of the Genitourinary Oncology Program and co-director of the Signal Transduction Research Program at the Yale Smilow Cancer Center. I am often asked what are the most prevalent risk factors in developing prostate cancer? Well, most the important risk factors in developing prostate cancer are diet as well as ethnicity. It is known that there is higher rate of prostate cancer in African Americans. It is debatable whether it is more aggressive in this group of patients, but we do know that race does tend to play a role in the development of prostate cancer. Also, individuals from industrialized countries have higher rates of prostate cancer. In fact, if you take a patient of Asian ancestry and move them to the United States, their risk of prostate cancer then attains that of somebody who is living in the United States. So there is probably some environmental factors that are involved, which comes to the issue of dietary fat. Dietary fat may play a role in the development of prostate cancer. In animal models, if you take an animal and feed it a high-fat diet and inject human prostate cancer cells, that animal will die from prostate cancer at a faster rate then the animals who have low-fat diets and have similar cells injected. So those are the things that you potentially can control. What I tell patients is that a heart-healthy diet is a prostate-healthy diet, and that is one way that you may be able to control prostate cancer from developing. Thank you for your attention.

Last modified: June 28, 2013
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