December 15, 2008 at 3:45 PM CST - Updated June 30 at 3:05 PM
Age is the most important risk factor for prostate cancer. The vast majority of cases of prostate cancer occur in men over the age of 50, and the disease is virtually non-existent in men under 35.
Race is another important risk factor. African Americans are 1.6 times more likely to be diagnosed with, and 2.5 times more likely to die from prostate cancer than their Caucasian peers. African Americans are often diagnosed with higher-grade, more malignant tumors, meaning that the cancer is more aggressive.
First-degree Relative is a man's nuclear relative, like a father or brother. Men who have a first-degree relative who was diagnosed with prostate cancer have a greater chance of being diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Diet and Lifestyle are some of the only risk factors for prostate cancer that are modifiable, meaning that men can make changes in their lives to actually help prevent the disease. Having a diet high in animal fat and red meat, as well as being obese or leading a sedentary lifestyle, increases a man's chances of having prostate cancer. Men who eat lots of fruits and vegetables, exercise, and have good vitamin intake, especially selenium, have a lesser chance of being diagnosed with the disease.