What Are the Causes of Prostate Cancer?

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  • Written By: Christine DiMaria
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 23 April 2019
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The prostate gland is the walnut-sized gland in below the bladder and in front of the rectum in men. It produces semen. The exact causes of prostate cancer are unknown, but it can be linked to certain risk factors. Among the risk factors for prostate cancer are increased age, smoking, a family history of cancer and sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia and syphilis.

It is rare for a man who is less than 40 years old to be diagnosed with prostate cancer. A majority of prostate cancer cases are found in men older than 65. Medical experts recommend that men should get annual prostate exams after age 40.

An enlarged prostate does not increase the chances of malignancy occurring. A condition known as prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PIN) has been known as a precancerous condition. Research has suggested that sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia and syphilis also increase a man's chance of developing prostate cancer. It is not a proven fact that any infections are the direct causes of prostate cancer, however.


Several environmental factors are believed to be linked to the causes of prostate cancer. These factors include smoking and both environmental and industrial toxins. Another factor that is thought to influence the causes of prostate cancer is diet, especially one that is high in saturated fats. A link to diets high in red meat also has been associated with prostate cancer. Not eating an adequate amount of fruits and vegetables is believed to be another contributing factor.

Prostate cancer has been linked to a sedentary lifestyle. Heritage plays a role in the development of this cancer. For an unknown reason, its more probable for men of African descent to be diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Genes and family history also are related to the causes of prostate cancer. A male is more likely to develop cancer of the prostate gland if other members of his family were diagnosed previously. Evidence has shown a possible link between certain genes and an increased risk of prostate cancer.

When the cells in the prostate gland are abnormal, they grow and divide more quickly than healthy prostate cells. The irregular cells thrive while the normal cells die. The genetically abnormal cells collect to form a tumor. Ultimately, if not treated soon enough, the cancer cells spread to other parts of the body.



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