Check your risk for prostate cancer


reviewed 10/25/2018

Prostate cancer risk assessment

Answering the following questions can help you learn more about your prostate cancer risk.

Note: This assessment is not intended to be a substitute for a visit with your healthcare provider.

Are you 50 or older?

If you answered "yes." Your risk for prostate cancer increases as you get older and rises rapidly after age 50.

If you answered "no." Prostate cancer is rare in men younger than 50, though the risk does rise as men age. Men who have other risk factors for prostate cancer may want to talk to their doctors about the disease before age 50.

For example, if you're African American or have a father, brother or son who develops prostate cancer before age 65, start talking with your doctor about the disease at age 45.

Are you African American?

If you answered "yes." Experts don't know why, but prostate cancer seems to affect African Americans more than men of other races. African American men are also more than twice as likely to die of prostate cancer as Caucasian men are.

If you answered "no." Experts don't know why, but prostate cancer seems affect African Americans more than men of other races.

Have you had close relatives with prostate cancer?

If you answered "yes." Men whose fathers or brothers had prostate cancer have an increased risk of getting it themselves. The risk goes up with the number of first-degree relatives affected. It's also higher for men whose relatives developed the disease at a young age.

If you answered "no." Your risk is not as high as that of men who have relatives with the disease.

Do red meat and high-fat dairy products play a bigger role in your diet than fruits and veggies?

If you answered "yes." Eating a lot of red meat and high-fat dairy products has been linked to a higher risk of prostate cancer. However, men who eat lots of red meat and high-fat dairy products also tend to eat fewer fruits and vegetables. Experts aren't sure which of these factors is behind the increased risk.

If you answered "no." If plant foods are a mainstay of your diet and you limit consumption of red meat and high-fat dairy products, you may be lowering your risk of prostate cancer.

Results

If you answered "no" to all four questions, you don't appear to have any of the main risk factors for prostate cancer. But keep in mind, men can still get the disease even when they don't seem to be at risk. In addition, your risk may go up as you age or your lifestyle habits change.

If you answered "yes" to any of the questions, discuss your risk factors with your doctor, but keep in mind that having risk factors doesn't guarantee that you'll get the disease.

It's also important to realize that the causes of prostate cancer aren't yet clear. There may be factors other than those listed in this quiz that could affect your risk. Remember, tools such as this risk assessment quiz are not intended to be a substitute for a conversation with your medical healthcare provider.

More information

For more information on prostate cancer, visit the Prostate Cancer health topic center.

You should also talk with your healthcare provider about your personal risk for prostate cancer and steps you can take to help prevent the disease. Your provider can also help you decide whether prostate cancer screening might be appropriate for you.

Sources: American Cancer Society; American Urological Association; National Cancer Institute

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