In the UK, about 1 in 8 men will get prostate cancer at some point in their lives. Older men, men with a family history of prostate cancer and Black men are more at risk.

See and share our infographic on prostate cancer risk

Age

Prostate cancer mainly affects men over 50, and your risk increases with age. The average age for men to be diagnosed with prostate cancer is between 70 and 74 years. If you are under 50, your risk of getting prostate cancer is very low. Men under 50 can get it, but it isn’t common.

Family history and genes

Inside every cell in our body is a set of instructions called genes. These are inherited from our parents. Genes control how the body grows, works and what it looks like. If something goes wrong with one or more genes (known as a fault or mutation), it can sometimes cause cancer.

  • You are two and a half times more likely to get prostate cancer if your father or brother has had it, compared to a man who has no relatives with prostate cancer.
  • Your chance of getting prostate cancer may be greater if your father or brother was under 60 when he was diagnosed, or if you have more than one close relative with prostate cancer.
  • You may have a higher risk of prostate cancer if your mother or sister has had breast cancer, particularly if they were diagnosed under the age of 60 and had faults in genes called BRCA1 or BRCA2. 

If you have relatives with prostate cancer or breast cancer and are worried about your risk, speak to your GP. Although your risk of prostate cancer may be higher, it doesn’t mean you will get it.

Learn more about the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene faults

Black men

Black men are more likely to get prostate cancer than other men. We don’t know why, but it might be linked to genes. In the UK, about 1 in 4 Black men will get prostate cancer at some point in their lives.

Read more about the risk in Black men

Find out four things all Black men should know

Body weight

No one knows how to prevent prostate cancer, but staying a healthy weight may be important. Research shows that being overweight or obese increases your risk of getting cancer that’s more likely to spread (called aggressive) or advanced prostate cancer (cancer that has spread outside the prostate).

Last updated: January 2015

References

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