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Research into causes and prevention

Find out about the latest UK research into the causes and prevention of prostate cancer. 


The risk of developing prostate cancer is higher in men who have a brother or father with prostate cancer. And, black-African and black-Caribbean men are more likely than white men to develop it. There are some genes that we know run in these families that are important in the development of prostate cancer.

Researchers want to find out:

  • how a family history can increase a man’s risk of prostate cancer
  • whether there are other genes that might increase the risk

To find the answers they are developing a DNA bank, using saliva, blood and tumour samples from thousands of men. They are also asking the men to answer a questionnaire

Diet and physical activity

Researchers are looking at ways to prevent and slow the growth of prostate cancer.

Research looking at whether particular foods could help to prevent prostate cancer hasn’t found any foods that cause or prevent prostate cancer so far.

Researchers are also looking into the impact of lifestyle changes after treatment such as diet and physical activity.

They also want to find out what information people need to help them make those changes.


Researchers are looking into whether there are drugs that could prevent prostate cancer. They have looked at drugs that doctors use to treat benign enlargement of the prostate. The results so far are mixed. They show that these drugs might reduce the risk of prostate cancer but the men that did develop prostate cancer had faster growing cancers. The men taking the drugs also had side effects that were difficult to cope with including a lower sex drive.

Researchers are also looking into whether aspirin can lower the risk of prostate cancer coming back after treatment.

Last reviewed: 
10 Jul 2016
  • Cancer: Principles and practice of oncology (10th edition)

    DeVita and others

    Lipincott, Williams and Wilkins, 2015

  • A systematic review of dietary, nutritional and physical activity interventions for the prevention of prostate cancer progression and mortality.

    Cancer Causes and Control. Vol 26, 2015

  • Prevention and early detection of prostate cancer.

    Cuzick and others. The Lancet Oncology. Vol 15, 2014

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