In the UK, about 1 in 8 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. We don't know exactly what causes prostate cancer but there are some things that may mean you are more likely to get it – these are called risk factors.
Family history and genetics
Your family history is information about any health problems that have affected your family. Families have many common factors, such as their genes, environment and lifestyle. Together, these factors can help suggest if you are more likely to get some health conditions.
Inside every cell in our body is a set of instructions called genes. These are passed down (inherited) from our parents. Genes control how the body grows, works and what it looks like. If something goes wrong with one or more genes (known as a gene fault or mutation), it can sometimes cause cancer.
Is prostate cancer hereditary?
If people in your family have prostate cancer or breast cancer, it might increase your own risk of getting prostate cancer. This is because you may have inherited the same faulty genes.
My father had prostate cancer. What are my risks?
- You are two and a half times more likely to get prostate cancer if your father or brother has had it, compared to a man who has no relatives with prostate cancer.
- Your chance of getting prostate cancer may be even greater if your father or brother was under 60 when he was diagnosed, or if you have more than one close relative (father or brother) with prostate cancer.
- Your risk of getting prostate cancer may also be higher if your mother or sister has had breast cancer.
Although prostate cancer can run in families, having a family history doesn’t mean you will get it. But it's important to speak to your GP if you have any relatives with prostate cancer or breast cancer, as your risk of hereditary prostate cancer may be higher.
Do you have a family history of prostate cancer?
If you're over 45 and your father or brother has had prostate cancer, you may want to talk to your GP. Our Specialist Nurses can also help you understand your hereditary risk of prostate cancer.
Black men are more likely to get prostate cancer than other men. We don’t know why, but it might be linked to genes. In the UK, about 1 in 4 black men will get prostate cancer in their lifetime.*
If you have mixed black ethnicity, you are likely to be at higher risk of prostate cancer than a white man. But we don’t know your exact risk because we don’t have enough information on prostate cancer in men with mixed black ethnicity. And we don’t know whether it makes a difference if it’s your mother or father who is black.
If you're a black man and you're over 45, speak to your GP about your risk of prostate cancer, even if you don't have any symptoms. Remember to tell them if you have a family history of prostate cancer or breast cancer. You can also contact our Specialist Nurses.
Contact our Specialist Nurses on 0800 074 8383