Risk Factors

There are several factors that can increase your risk of prostate cancer. It is important to speak with your doctor if you believe you may be at risk for developing prostate cancer. Common risk factors include:

  • Age - Most men with prostate cancer are over 65 and the disease is rare in men under 45. 
  • Family History - A person’s risk factor is higher if his father, brother or son had prostate cancer. 
  • Race - Prostate cancer is more common among black men than white or Hispanic/Latino men. It's less common among Asian/Pacific Islander and American Indian/Alaska Native men. 
  • Prostate Changes - Men with cells called high-grade Prostatic Intraepithelial Neoplasia (PIN) may be at an increased risk of prostate cancer. 


Screening is when doctors look for cancer before a person has any symptoms. This can help find cancer at an early stage and may make it easier to treat. Screening tests are given when you have no cancer symptoms and may be periodically repeated. If a screening test is abnormal, more tests may follow. 

In prostate cancer, there is not a single test or procedure that everyone agrees on that is helpful for screening men. Some tests that are used are a digital rectal exam (DRE) and a prostate-specific antigen test (PSA). During a DRE, a doctor will examine your prostate with a gloved finger to look for any unusual lumps or growth. With a PSA test, doctors look for elevations of the PSA substance in the blood that can sometimes signify the presence of prostate cancer.  A biopsy of the prostate may follow an abnormal DRE or elevated PSA. 

The decision to get screened depends on many factors, including a man’s family history, age, race and symptoms. You should discuss the risk and benefits of screening for with your doctor.