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.
Prostate cancer mainly affects men over 50, and your risk increases as you get older. 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.
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.
If people in your family have prostate cancer or breast cancer, it might increase your risk of getting prostate cancer. This is because you may have the same faulty genes.
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.
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.
No one knows how to prevent prostate cancer. But staying a healthy weight – for example by eating healthily and keeping active – may be important.
Research suggests that being overweight or obese can increase your risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer that’s aggressive (more likely to spread) or advanced (cancer that has spread outside the prostate).
Read more in our leaflet, Diet, physical activity and your risk of prostate cancer.
Updated: August 2017 | To be reviewed: August 2019