Reducing your risk of prostate cancer

Can prostate cancer be prevented?

There are more than 100 cases of prostate cancer diagnosed every day in the UK, making it the most common cancer in men. In 2013, 47,189 cases of prostate cancer were diagnosed. About 3 out of every 4 cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed in men aged 65 and over.

Scientists now estimate that 1 in 11 cases of advanced prostate cancer in the UK could be prevented by maintaining a healthy weight.

What is prostate cancer?

Prostate cancer develops when a cell in the prostate gland gets damaged and starts to grow in an uncontrolled way.

The prostate is a gland that is only found in men. It is about the size of a walnut and is found beneath the bladder.

The prostate makes fluid that protects the urethra (the tube that carries urine and sperm out of the body) and helps sperm survive.

Who is most at risk of prostate cancer?

As with all cancers, the risk of developing prostate cancer depends on a number of factors and varies from person to person. These are some of the most important factors.

  • Weight

There is strong new evidence that being overweight or obese increases the risk of advanced prostate cancers, including aggressive prostate cancers, which can be fatal.

  • Age

Men under the age of 50 have a very low risk of prostate cancer. The risk increases as you get older. Most men in their 80s will have some degree of prostate cancer, but it is often not life-limiting.

  • Family history

Your risk is higher if you have a close relative (for example, your father, brother or uncle) who has been affected by the disease. There is also evidence which shows that having a close female relative (for example, your mother) who has had breast cancer can increase your risk. Experts believe that around 5-9% of prostate cancer cases are linked to genes or family history.

  • Ethnicity

Men of African-Caribbean or African decent have a higher risk of prostate cancer than white men. Asian and Chinese men have a lower risk than white men.

How can you reduce your risk of prostate cancer?

  • Stay in shape

The most up-to-date research shows that if you are overweight or obese your risk of advanced prostate cancer increases. To find out if you’re a healthy weight, check your Body Mass Index (BMI) using our BMI calculator.

Read our blog post about diet, lifestyle and prostate cancer for more information about the latest research.