Genetics sometimes play a role in the development of prostate cancer. Clinical testing for genes that increase the risk is not yet available, but people with a family history of the disease can still take preventive measures to lower their risk.
Heredity accounts for about 5 percent to 10 percent of all prostate cancers, according to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York
. Having a father or brother who had prostate cancer doubles a man's risk of developing the disease. The risk increases five times if a man has had two close relatives with the disease.
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Researchers have been able to identify certain gene mutations responsible for increasing the risk of prostate cancer. They continue to explore the involvement of genetics in the disease with the hope of developing new treatments.
Most prostate cancers do not involve family history, the American Cancer Society points out
. The risk increases significantly for men after age 50. African-American men have a higher risk than other races.
However, men who know they face a genetic risk because of family history, as well as others at risk, can manage those risks and consult doctors about prevention plans.
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A low-fat diet may help to reduce the risk. Men with an excessive intake of high-fat dairy products and red meat have been found to have a slightly higher risk of developing prostate cancer, the American Cancer Society says.
Some studies have suggested a link between a typical Western diet with large amounts of meat and a higher risk of prostate cancer when compared with countries that have more plant-based diets, according to Harvard Medical School
. However, the studies were not focused on cause and effect.
Research has had conflicting results on the role of obesity in influence prostate cancer. Some studies suggest obese men have a lower risk of low-grade and less dangerous forms of prostate cancer, but they may have a higher risk of getting more advanced and aggressive prostate cancers.
A healthy diet and prostate cancer screenings for early detection could help lessen the risk for men concerned about a genetic link to the disease.
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