Prostate Cancer Causes & Risk Factors

Medical oncologist Han Xiao at MSK Basking Ridge

Medical oncologist Han Xiao at MSK Basking Ridge is one of several experts at our suburban locations that work closely with our prostate team in Manhattan.

The single greatest risk factor for prostate cancer is age. The disease tends to develop in men over age 50; more than 60 percent of prostate tumors are found in men 65 or older.

Inherited genetic factors may be related to 5 to 10 percent of prostate cancers. Our clinical genetics experts can help assess your actual level of risk for the disease and give you advice about prostate cancer screening and other options.

In addition to advancing age, your risk for developing prostate cancer is higher than usual if one or more of the following characteristics apply to you:

  • You’re of a certain race and nationality. African American men, for example, are at higher risk than Caucasian men. African American men are also more likely to have an advanced stage of the disease at the time they’re diagnosed.
  • You have a family history of the disease. If a close relative, such as your father or brother, has had prostate cancer, your risk for it is higher than the risk is for other men. This is especially true if that relative was diagnosed with prostate cancer before age 60.
  • You have symptoms of the disease, such as a frequent urge to urinate or painful ejaculation.