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Health Protocols

Prostate Cancer Treatment

Causes and Risk Factors

The risk of prostate cancer, like many other forms of cancer, increases with age. Forty-year-old men have a 2.3% chance of being diagnosed with prostate cancer by age 60. For 70-year-old men, the 20-year risk of prostate cancer is 9.5% (CDC 2015).

African-American men have a higher risk of prostate cancer than Caucasian men (Wells 2010; Zhang 2013). In one study of almost three million servicemen, African Americans were nearly three times more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer (Wells 2010). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about twice as many African Americans die from prostate cancer as Caucasians (CDC 2017). In contrast, Asian Americans have a lower risk of prostate cancer (Tran 2016; CDC 2017).

Men with a family history of prostate cancer and those who have specific gene mutations have an increased risk of prostate cancer (Helfand 2015; Chen 2017; Cheng 2017). For instance, mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes increase prostate cancer risk (Lecarpentier 2017). The likelihood of developing prostate cancer before age 65 is more than eight-fold higher in men with mutations in the BRCA2 gene. The presence of BRCA2 gene mutations predict a lifetime prostate cancer risk of 30–40% and is associated with more aggressive forms of cancer. While BRCA1 mutations have also been correlated with increased prostate cancer risk, the relationship is not as strong as with BRCA2 mutations (Costa 2017; Mateo 2017).

Obesity may be associated with increased risk for advanced prostate cancer (Vidal 2017; Rundle 2017). In a large prospective study of over 25,000 men, obesity was associated with increased prostate cancer risk in non-Hispanic white men and African-American men, but the association was stronger in African-American men than men of other races (Barrington 2015).

Dietary factors have been linked to prostate cancer risk. Greater intake of red meat (especially that cooked at high temperatures) and animal fats have been linked to increased prostate cancer risk (Nelson 2014). On the other hand, a healthy diet has been linked to lower risk of prostate cancer and better outcomes in several studies. Studies have shown that a diet rich in plant-based foods may be protective against prostate cancer (Perez-Cornago, Travis 2017; Peisch 2017). For a more thorough evaluation of dietary prostate cancer risks, review the Prostate Cancer Prevention protocol, specifically, the section titled “Impact of Diet on Prostate Cancer Risk and Mortality.”

Research suggests that smoking is a risk factor for many cancers, including cancer of the prostate (Tang 2017; Sato 2017; Jones, Joshu 2016). Smokers are more likely to be diagnosed with more advanced prostate cancer (Ho 2014), develop fatigue while using docetaxel (Taxotere) (a chemotherapy drug commonly used to treat prostate cancer) (Bergin 2017), and have complications such as pneumonia and unplanned intubation after prostate surgery (Byun 2017).

Gonorrhea (a sexually transmitted infection) is associated with increased prostate cancer risk (Lian 2015; Wang, Chung 2017; Vazquez-Salas 2016).