What causes stage 4 prostate cancer?

The cause of stage 4 prostate cancer is unknown. The disease begins as a small bump of abnormal cells located within the prostate. These cancerous cells do not die like normal cells, and they divide at a much higher rate as well. Therefore over time, sometimes many years, the bump of abnormal cells grows larger, eventually becoming a tumor, which can begin to spread to other parts of the body.

Age, health and genetic factors all play a role in increasing the risk of stage 4 prostate cancer. The disease is by far most common in men over age 65, and is more common among black men than any other race. Risk also increases with a history of the disease in the family. Heightened risk has been linked to certain genetic and cellular factors as well, such as the presence of a type of high-grade cell called prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia, or certain changes in genes such as BRCA 1 or BRCA2. Obesity doesn't necessarily increase the risk of the disease, but it does make its detection more difficult, meaning that when it is diagnosed it is likely to be in a more advanced state.

Risk of stage 4 prostate cancer can be reduced by eating a healthy diet, exercising and regular doctor visits. There is no proven method to completely eliminate the risk of developing any stage of prostate cancer, but studies have linked certain nutrients in fruits and vegetables, such as lycopene—found in tomatoes—with prevention of the disease. Being aware of your risk factors can also help in prevention of the disease.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.