The prostate is a small gland that is part of the male reproductive system. Unfortunately for some men, this particular gland will succumb to cancer. According to the latest statistics from the American Cancer Society, there have been over 268,000 new cases of prostate cancer so far this year. One way to detect this type of cancer is to undergo prostate cancer testing, which measures the levels of prostate-specific antigens (PSA) in the blood. Men with certain risk factors are more susceptible to having higher PSA levels, which could mean a diagnosis of prostate cancer.
Here are four risk factors for prostate cancer.
The good news is that men under 40 rarely need to worry about prostate cancer. However, the risk of getting prostate cancer increases significantly after the age of 50. When a man turns 65, their risk of getting prostate cancer increases even more. In fact, over half of the cases of prostate cancer occur in men over the age of 65. Because age plays such a key role, even healthy older men should undergo prostate cancer testing.
2. Family History
Any male with a family member who has this type of cancer should get prostate cancer testing. This is because some health experts believe there may be a genetic factor when it comes to prostate cancer. Men who have a father or brother with prostate cancer should be especially cautious.
3. Agent Orange Exposure
Agent Orange was an herbicide that the U.S. military used during the Vietnam War. They used the chemical to defoliate the forest areas as well as destroy the enemy's crops. Men who fought in this war should know that Agent Orange increases their chances of getting prostate cancer and should undergo prostate cancer testing.
According to research, military men exposed to Agent Orange had a 52 percent higher chance of getting prostate cancer. There is also a 75 percent higher chance of getting a more aggressive form of the disease.
4. Poor Diet
Eating high amounts of animal fat, especially red meat and dairy foods high in fat, can stimulate the growth of prostate cancer. High amounts of calcium have also been known to stimulate high PSA levels. The good news is that this is one risk factor that men can do something about. By eating a low-fat diet, men can decrease their chances of prostate cancer.
Every male should undergo prostate cancer testing. However, men with any of these risk factors should be extra vigilant about having their PSA levels checked on a regular basis.