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Prostate Cancer: are you at risk?

Armen Hareyan's picture

(NC)-How can risk be determined? Although there is no specific cause related to the development of prostate cancer, there are certain factors that may increase a man's risk, including:

. Age - most common in men over 40 and increasingly common with age

. Race - Black men are at the greatest risk

. Nationality - most common in North America and northwestern Europe

. Family history - a close relative (brother or father) who has had prostate cancer increases the risk

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. Diet - Studies have shown that a high intake of animal or saturated fats is associated with an increased chance of developing prostate cancer

Although these factors may increase a man's risk, there is no precise way of determining who will develop prostate cancer. Men with one or more risk factors may never develop cancer, while others who do, may have no risk factors at all.

While knowing your risk factors and maintaining a healthy lifestyle are the first steps in preventing prostate cancer, the medical community is continuously looking for new ways to prevent the disease. Encouraging results from the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial, published last year, show that a drug, finasteride 5 mg (Proscar), had a positive effect in preventing or delaying the onset of the cancer in 25 per cent of cases in men 55 years or older. Another long term study called the SELECT trial, which is in process, is examining the protective effect of vitamin E and selenium, alone or in combination. Results of this trial won't be known for several years.

A study released on July 8 by the New England Journal of Medicine underlines the importance of having regular PSA tests to catch prostate cancer early before it has spread. The study (Preoperative PSA Velocity and the Risk of Death from Prostate Cancer after Radical Prostatectomy) says regular PSA tests can help doctors spot trends in PSA levels, and that the velocity of change is a strong indicator of whether or not a particular case of prostate cancer will be deadly. Visit the Prostate Cancer Research Foundation's website, www.prostatecancer.ca, to learn more about prostate cancer and your risk factors. To determine your own personal risk for the disease, fill out the online and interactive Risk Assessment Tool found on the website.

- News Canada