Am I at risk?

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. If you are worried about your risk, or are experiencing any symptoms, go and see your GP. They can talk to you about your risk, and about the tests that are used to diagnose prostate cancer.

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 65 and 69 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.

If you're over 50 and you're worried about your risk of prostate cancer, you might want to ask your GP about tests for prostate cancer. If you're over 45 but have a higher risk of prostate cancer – because you have a family history of it or you're a black man – you might want to talk to your GP too.

Family history and genes

Inside every cell in our body is a set of instructions called genes. These are passed down (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.
  • Your risk of getting prostate cancer is higher 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.

If you're a black man and you're over 45, speak to your GP about your risk of prostate cancer. You can also contact our Specialist Nurses.

Read more about the risk in black men.

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References

Updated: August 2017 | To be reviewed: August 2019

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