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 the age of 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 then your risk of getting prostate cancer is very low. Younger men can be affected, but this is rare.

Family history

Inside every cell in our body is a set of instructions called genes. These are inherited from our parents. If something goes wrong with one or more genes (known as a fault or mutation), it can cause cancer. Some faults in genes can be passed on from your parents and could increase your risk of prostate cancer.

  • You are two and a half times more likely to get prostate cancer if your father or brother has been diagnosed with it, compared to a man who has no relatives with prostate cancer.
  • You may have a higher chance of getting prostate cancer if your relative was under 60 when they were diagnosed with prostate cancer, or if you have more than one first degree relative (father or brother) 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. This risk is only higher for men whose relative’s breast cancer was linked to faults in genes called BRCA1 or BRCA2. 

The BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are sometimes known as breast cancer genes. Faults in these genes can increase a woman’s chance of getting breast cancer. They can also increase a man’s chance of getting prostate cancer. Faults in these genes are rare but if you have relatives with prostate cancer or breast cancer and are worried about this, speak to your GP. Although the risk is increased, it doesn’t necessarily mean you will get prostate cancer.

Faults in other genes may also increase the risk of prostate cancer. Each of these faults may only increase your risk a small amount. But if you have lots of these faults, you may have a higher risk of prostate cancer. We need more research to fully understand how faults in genes affect a man’s risk of prostate cancer.

Learn more about the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene faults.

Black men

Black men are more likely to get prostate cancer than men of other ethnic backgrounds. In the UK, about 1 in 4 Black men will get prostate cancer at some point in their lives. The reasons for this are not yet clear but might be linked to genes.

Read more about the risk in Black men

Find out four things all Black men should know

References

  • References  

    Lifetime risk

    Cancer Research UK website: http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/cancer-info/cancerstats/incidence/risk

    Age
    Cancer Research UK, http://info.cancerresearchuk.org/cancerstats/types/prostate/incidence/

    Family history

    Johns L, Houlston R. A systematic review and meta-analysis of familial prostate cancer risk. BJU Int. 2003;91(9):789–94

    Mcpherson K, Steel CM, Dixon JM. 5 Breast cancer—epidemiology, risk factors, and genetics. ABC Breast Dis. 2006;572:24

    Edwards SM, Kote-Jarai Z, Meitz J, Hamoudi R, Hope Q, Osin P, et al. Two percent of men with early-onset prostate cancer harbor germline mutations in the BRCA2 gene. Am J Hum Genet. 2003;72(1):1–12

    Thompson D, Easton DF. Cancer incidence in BRCA1 mutation carriers. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2002;94(18):1358–65

    Mitra AV, Bancroft EK, Barbachano Y, Page EC, Foster CS, Jameson C, et al. Targeted prostate cancer screening in men with mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 detects aggressive prostate cancer: preliminary analysis of the results of the IMPACT study: TARGETED PROSTATE CANCER SCREENING. BJU Int. 2011;107(1):28–39

    Castro E, Eeles R. The role of BRCA1 and BRCA2 in prostate cancer. Asian J Androl. 2012;14(3):409–14

    Leongamornlert D, Mahmud N, Tymrakiewicz M, Saunders E, Dadaev T, Castro E, et al. Germline BRCA1 mutations increase prostate cancer risk. Br J Cancer. 2012;106(10):1697–701

    Kote-Jarai Z, Leongamornlert D, Saunders E, Tymrakiewicz M, Castro E, Mahmud N, et al. BRCA2 is a moderate penetrance gene contributing to young-onset prostate cancer: implications for genetic testing in prostate cancer patients. Br J Cancer. 2011;105(8):1230–4

    Thompson D, Easton D. Variation in cancer risks, by mutation position, in BRCA2 mutation carriers. Am J Hum Genet. 2001;68(2):410–9

    Consortium BCL. Cancer risks in BRCA2 mutation carriers. J Natl Cancer Inst. 1999;91(15):1310–6

    Kote-Jarai Z, Saunders EJ, Leongamornlert DA, Tymrakiewicz M, Dadaev T, Jugurnauth-Little S, et al. Fine-mapping identifies multiple prostate cancer risk loci at 5p15, one of which associates with TERT expression. Hum Mol Genet. 2013;22(12):2520–8

    Eeles RA, Olama AAA, Benlloch S, Saunders EJ, Leongamornlert DA, Tymrakiewicz M, et al. Identification of 23 new prostate cancer susceptibility loci using the iCOGS custom genotyping array. Nat Genet. 2013;45(4):385–91

    Amin Al Olama A, Kote-Jarai Z, Schumacher FR, Wiklund F, Berndt SI, Benlloch S, et al. A meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies to identify prostate cancer susceptibility loci associated with aggressive and non-aggressive disease. Hum Mol Genet. 2013;22(2):408–15

    Nakagawa H. Prostate cancer genomics by high-throughput technologies: genome-wide association study and sequencing analysis. Endocr Relat Cancer. 2013;20(4):R171–R181

    Ethnicity
    Ben-Shlomo Y, Evans S, Ibrahim F, et al. PROCESS study group. The Risk of Prostate Cancer amongst Black Men in the United Kingdom: The PROCESS Cohort Study. Eur Urol. 2008;53(1):99-105

    Hooker S, Hernandez W, Chen H, et al. Replication of prostate cancer risk loci on 8q24, 11q13, 17q12, 19q33, and Xp11 in African Americans Prostate 2010 Feb 15;70(3):270-6).

    Lavender NA, Benford ML, VanCleave TT, et al. Examination of polymorphic glutathione S-transferase (GST) genes, tobacco smoking and prostate cancer risk among Men of African Descent: A case-control study BMC Cancer. 2009;9:397

    Mason TE, Ricks-Santi L, Chen W, et al. Association of CD14 variant with prostate cancer in African American men Prostate 2010 Feb 15;70(3):262-9)

    Metcalfe C, Evans S, Ibrahim F, et al. Pathways to diagnosis for black men and white men found to have prostate cancer: the PROCESS cohort study. British Journal of Cancer (2008)
    National Cancer Intelligent Network. Cancer incidence and survival by major ethnic group, England. 2002-2006

    Wang Y, Ray AM, Johnson EK, et al. Evidence for an association between prostate cancer and chromosome 8q24 and 10q11 genetic variants in African American men: The flint men's health study. Prostate. 2010.

    Xu J, Kibel AS, Hu JJ, et al. Prostate cancer risk associated loci in African Americans Cancer Epidemiol Markers Prev. 2009;18(7)2145-49.

    Working out the risk of prostate cancer in Black men. Prostate Cancer UK. 2013. Available from: 1 in 4 stat explained