What are the Causes & Risk Factors for Prostate Cancer? : Prostate Cancer is among the most common cancers in Men all over the world. The good news is, most of these are diagnosed early and are highly treatable in early stages. The risk of prostate cancer increases with age. Most prostate cancers are detected in men over the age of 60 years.
As with most cancers, prostate cancer develops when certain cells within the prostate divide continuously without stopping. They multiply and develop into a mass called tumour. As the cells continue to grow, parts of this mass may break off and then reach other organs through blood flow. Luckily, prostate cancers are usually slow growing tumours and they are commonly detected before they reach other organs. When detected early, prostate cancers respond to treatment very well.
Therefore, it is very important for everyone to learn about the risk factors of prostate cancer as well as understand the basics of genetics affecting the likelihood of getting cancer.
What Causes Prostate Cancer?
Prostate cancer is not directly linked to any environmental factor. Most of the times, prostate cancer is caused by mutations or changes in the genes. Genes are made up of DNA molecules which are basically like the brain of the cell telling the cells what to do. Genes controls almost all the functions of cells.
In reference to cancer, there are specifically two broad categories of genes:
Proto-Oncogenes & Oncogenes – These genes are involved in normal cell growth and division. Whenever there is a mutation in a proto-oncogene, it becomes an oncogene. Oncogene is responsible for uncontrollable cell division giving rise to tumour or cancer. Some of the proto-oncogenes related to prostate cancer include – BRCA1, BRCA2 and HOXB13. These genes often show familial tendency.
In simple words, these proto-oncogenic mutations often run in families and therefore, men in that family are more likely to develop prostate cancer by inheriting these genetic structure from their parents.
Tumour Suppressor Genes – These are the genes which normally keep cell division in check. Which means, they prevent any uncontrolled division of cells. Now, when there is a mutation or change in these genes, the cell division goes unchecked and cells begin to divide continuously giving rise to cancer.
Rb and CDKN2 are the two tumour suppressor gene which are recognised to have a role in prostate cancer.
Therefore, as per the researches say, prostate cancer is only caused due to genetic factors. There are no environmental or physical factors which are directly linked to prostate cancer. It can be caused due to “Turning On” of the proto-oncogenes or “Turning off” of the tumour suppressor genes.
What are the Risk Factors for Prostate Cancer?
Age – The risk of prostate cancer increases after the age of 50 years. Most common age group to present with this cancer is 60+ years. The cancer is not commonly seen below the age of 45 years.
Race & Ethnicity – As per the studies, African American men are more likely to get Prostate cancer as compared to caucasian men. The risk is even lower in case of Asian or Hispanic men.
Family History – If someone in your family has had a history of prostate cancer, then the risk of developing prostate increases 3 folds for you. It is interesting to note that the same gene mutations responsible for prostate cancer in males i.e. BRCA1 and BRCA2, are also responsible for breast cancer in females. Hence, some researches have shown that if your family has history of breast cancer, then again the risk of prostate cancer is higher.
Obesity & Unhealthy Lifestyle – Obese or highly over weight people are slightly at a higher risk of getting the cancer. More importantly, in obese individuals, the cancer can be a bit more aggressive and has a higher chance of coming back. A recent study also linked high meat and dairy fat consumption to prostate cancer.
Other Risk Factors – Smoking, Alcohol consumption, chronic prostate inflammation, Some sexually transmitted infections and exposure to some herbicides like “Agent Orange” ; are also some of the contributive risk factors in the aetiology of prostate cancer.
Can Trans Gender People Develop Prostate Cancer?
The people who are born with prostate can develop the cancer. Therefore, it is equally important for transgender individuals to learn about the risk factors. Transgender women who use hormonal estrogen as hormonal therapy may have a slightly lower risk. But it does not completely remove the risk, therefore, it is important to be aware.
I will be talking more about Prostate Cancer Screening in my next blog post. In fact, this month, I am going to cover all about Prostate Cancer in my blogs. Please let me know in the comments if there is anything else that you’d like to know related to prostate cancer.
At Institute of Urology, Jaipur we are equipped with most modern facilities and technological advancements in order to come to a quick diagnosis. Prostate cancer has a good prognosis when diagnosed early and given proper treatment. I will be writing more on the symptoms of Prostate Cancer and how do you know when to suspect it.
For any queries, you can always give me a call or whatsapp me on 8601539297. For in person consultation, I am available at Institute of Urology, C Scheme, Jaipur. You can also book an appointment on 9829013468.