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Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men in all racial and ethnic groups. It is not known what causes prostate cancer, but it is known that certain risk factors are linked to the disease. African American men are at especially high risk for prostate cancer. About 4,700 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in Los Angeles County in 2007. Of those, 740 will die.

Risk Factors
  • Age - The risk of getting prostate cancer goes up as a man ages. Two out of every three prostate cancers are found in men over age 65.
  • Race - Prostate cancer is more common in African American men than in white men. African American men also are twice as likely to die of the disease.
  • Nationality - Prostate cancer is most common in North America and northwestern Europe and less common in Asia, Africa, Central and South America.
  • Family History - Men with close family members who have had prostate cancer are more likely to get it, especially if their relatives were young when diagnosed.
  • Diet - Men who eat a lot of red meat or high-fat dairy products seem to have a greater chance of getting prostate cancer.

Unlike many other cancers, prostate cancer often grows very slowly. Because of this, many undiagnosed prostate cancers would never become life-threatening. The American Cancer Society recommends that doctors offer the PSA blood test and digital rectal exam yearly, beginning at age 50, to men with no major medical problems who are expected to live at least 10 more years. Men at high risk should begin testing at age 45. High risk men include African Americans and men who have a close relative - father, brother or son – diagnosed with prostate cancer before age 65.

Sources: American Cancer Society, California Cancer Registry

Last updated: 7/10/2008 11:03:48 AM