Statistics from American Cancer Society (2017, p. 23) indicate that prostate cancer is the third most fatal cancer type and is responsible for over 26,000 deaths in the United States annually.

Genetic and environmental factors influencing prostate cancer

Genetic and environmental factors influencing prostate cancer
Statistics from American Cancer Society (2017, p. 23) indicate that prostate cancer is the third most fatal cancer type and is responsible for over 26,000 deaths in the United States annually. The illness is most prevalent in older men with high incidence in black male than any other ethnic groups. Prostate cancer is caused by both genetic and environmental factors. Ferris-i-Tortajada et al. (2011) observed that prostate cancer causes emotional, physical, and financial stress to the victim and the people responsible for taking of the patient. Furthermore, the illness poses significant challenges to the medical fraternity due to its high mortality rate and complicated management process. Cuzick et al. (2015) pointed out that some of the risk factors causing the illness are controllable and further notes that better prostate cancer screening techniques need to be employed to detect and diagnose the disease for prevention or treatment to take place.
Objectives of the study
The paper aims to examine the environmental and genetic factors causing prostate cancer. In particular, the article seeks to research on how genetics and environmental factors affect the occurrence of the illness and understand whether there are ways that the risk factors can be controlled. The article also seeks to review the relevant literature relating to prostate cancer to understand the illness further. The specific research questions that the study aims to answer are listed below
• What are the environmental and genetic risk factors leading to the occurrence of prostate cancer?
• How can prostate cancer risk factors be controlled to lessen the burden of the illness?
Relevance of the study topic to behavioral genetics
The study is relevant to behavioral genetics as it seeks to shed light on behavior exhibited by people diagnosed with cancer and people at high risk of getting the illness. Researchers agree that genetics and environment play a significant role in the incidence of prostate cancer. People with close relatives diagnosed with the cancer have a higher risk of developing the disease later in life. A study by National Cancer Institute (2017) observed that people at high risk of getting cancer through gene inheritance exhibit distinct behavior that point to their perception of the illness. The study found that, high-risk individuals do not consider themselves at great risk of getting the illness as compared to other individuals and may only take a screening test when prompted by a physician or anxiety about the condition. Therefore, the study seeks to explain why high-risk individuals have low perception of the risk of getting the illness
Relevance of the research topic to the society
Apart from the prostate cancer patient, the community is negatively affected by the illness. The community provides the emotional and financial support to a prostate cancer patient and also play a role in the development of the disease as they are part of the environment that shape the behavior of people at a high chance of contracting prostate cancer. Therefore, the findings of the study are significant to the society as it contains relevant facts that can educate and inform the nation concerning prostate cancer. The study also raises awareness on the effects of the illness to people in the society and recommends the roles the community can play to diminish the occurrence of prostate cancer.
History of prostate cancer
When the prostate cancer was discovered in 1853, little was known about it, and the physicians classified it as a rare illness. During its early days, medical professionals could not distinguish prostate cancer from other forms of cancer hence the low incidences rates recorded for the disease during that period. Over a time of 160 years, prostate cancer has become more prevalent and fatal, and medical professionals are coming up with more information regarding the illness and advanced ways of managing the disease.
Denmeade and Isaac (2002) noted that castration initially treated prostate cancer and administering oestrogen by mouth. The method was not very efficient and got discontinued as a line of treatment for prostate cancer but retained to treat other disorders. Medical scholars and practitioners come up with different methods to treat the disease, which included altering the hormones of a prostate cancer patient and using synthetic estrogen. The treatment procedure for the ailment got developed through various trials due to the complex nature of the disease. American Cancer Society (2017) noted that prostate cancer displays no symptoms and is detected through screening when a high-risk individual attains the age of 50. The illness commonly affects people who are over the age of 65 years, but early preparation for detection and the treatment is recommended for people with relatives suffering from the disease.
The history of prostate cancer indicates why its study is vital to the community and behavioral genetics. The disease has revealed itself over time in its high occurrences and mortality rate posing a challenge to the medical experts as they try to contain the ailment.
Past studies on prostate cancer and their findings
Several studies have been conducted to establish the environmental as well as genetic risk factors leading incidence of prostate cancer. Past studies in the field indicate that lifestyle, genes, exposure to harmful chemicals, and age are some of the significant factors that cause prostate cancer. Other risk factors include race and ethnicity.
Ferris-i-Tortajada et al. (2011) argued that an individual’s lifestyle can put a person at high risk of getting prostate cancer. Environment influences the Lifestyle a person chooses to live. The behavior exhibited by a person is a direct result of their interaction with their immediate surroundings. According to Ferris-i-Tortajada et al. (2011), smokers are at higher risk of getting prostate cancer. Nonsmokers, on the other hand, have a lower chance of dying from prostate cancer. The claim fronted by Ferris-i-Tortajada et al. (2011) is supported by Cuzick et al. (2015) who also noted that smoking has a reasonable influence on the prostate cancer. The researchers explained that smokers have a high risk of dying from prostate cancer and as smoking aggravates the illness leading to high mortality rates among smokers. The researchers used the relationship between smoking and other aggressive cancer types to arrive at the conclusion that smoking is linked to the spread of prostate cancer.
Furthermore, less physical activity and reduced diet, which are caused by social and economic factors, influence the occurrence and development of prostate cancer. Ferris-i-Tortajada et al. (2011) stated that poor nutrition causes health complications like obesity, which is linked to high mortality rates of prostate cancer patients as they are related to more aggressive prostate cancer. Cuzack et al. (2015) further explained that people who consume some food items like red meat and dairy products are at higher risk of getting prostate cancer. However, other studies indicate that diets that are drawn from plants contain antioxidants that can fight the development of prostate cancer. A survey carried out by Lall et al. (2015) found that consuming select plant-based diet occasioning a change in some DNA genotypes linked to prostate malignancy cells enabling the polyphenols to treat the affected cells.
Other environmental factors influencing the occurrences and development of prostate cancer include exposure to agricultural chemicals. Ferris-i-Tortajada et al. (2011) in their study noted that most American based in rural areas with heavy agricultural activities were found to have high prostate cancer mortality compared to other locations with limited agricultural potential. The high incidence of prostate cancer in rural America was due to the effects of pesticides and herbicides used for farming. The chemicals are inhaled and indirectly get into the human body through foodstuffs consumed by the people. Cuzick et al. (2015) observed that exposure to harmful sun rays causes is likely to cause prostate cancer. The scholars believe that X-rays and gamma rays are also dangerous and can cause prostate cancer.
Regarding genetics, medical professionals indicate that prostate cancer is hereditary and can be passed on from parent to offspring. Hjelmborg et al. (2014) noted that family plays a significant part in the transmission of the disease. The authors also noted that studies conducted on members of the family where one member has prostate cancer returned positive results that genetics plays a primary role in the occurrence of prostate cancer. The findings of Hjelmborg et al. (2014) were corroborated by Johnson et al. (2011) who based their claims on the results of a study of twins carried out by researchers around the globe. The scholars argue that it is quite evident that family background determines whether an individual would get diagnosed with prostate cancer. Johnson et al. (2011) further noted that the success of the twin studies might have gotten biased due to how the sample was taken. The scholars observed that the outcome of twin studies might have been influenced by environmental factors like sharing prevailing economic conditions or the environment.
Age and ethnicity are also significant factors in the occurrences and development of the ailment. American Cancer Association (2017) pointed out that as an individual grows older, the risk of getting prostate cancer increases. The illness commonly affects men of over 65 years, but the age can reduce up to five years for black ethnic communities in most parts of the world. Lloyd et al. (2015) reported that prostate cancer is twice likely to affect a black man in the United Kingdom than any other race or ethnic group living in the country. The finding that black male is at higher risk of the illness is universal. Studies carried out in the United States by American Cancer Society (2017) noted that over 73% of diagnosed cases of prostate cancer are found in people with an African background. Lloyd et al. (2015) explained that the prostate cancer prevalence in people with African history is due to the low social and economic circumstances within which they live. Their living conditions affect the black people’s ability to access proper medical attention. The scholars also noted that prostate cancer could be diagnosed five years earlier in black people than in other races.
The reviewed literature indicates that environmental issues and genetics are instrumental in the appearance and development of prostate cancer in the human beings. Age and ethnicity are the most dominant factors during diagnosis of the illness. The information also indicates that lifestyle and access to medical services directly affect the prevalence of prostate cancer.
Controlling prostate cancer risk factors
American Cancer Society (2017) note that the main risk factors for the illness are age, ethnicity, and genetics. The organization suggests that both environmental and genetic factors play a significant role in the incidence of prostate cancer. However, the question whether risk factors can be modified depends on the ability of the cause for the illness to be manipulated. There appears to be no absolute way that prostate cancer can be prevented apart from decreasing the exposure to the disease-causing factors. Furthermore, age, genetics, and ethnicity are non-modifiable factors. Cuzick et al. (2015) pointed out that it is a challenge to diagnose the illness when the victim is below 65 years except in the circumstance that the individual is at a higher risk of developing the disease. Cuzick et al. (2015) noted that behavior is a variable factor that can be targeted by medical practitioners to treat or manage the illness. A prostate cancer patient can be prevailed upon to adopt smoking cessation, avoid exposing themselves to harmful chemicals or radiation, and practice a healthy diet. Physicians can supplement the therapy with the behavioral change to manage the illness efficiently.
The reviewed literature contains essential information regarding the prostate cancer. Most of the researchers agree that environmental factors and genetics affect the occurrences of the disease. However, while analyzing the literature, it became apparent that some researchers have conflicting views on how environmental factors affect the presence and development of prostate cancer. For example, while some scholars suggest that diet can worsen the illness some scholars are of the opinion that food, especially from fruits and vegetables, can assist the body to fight the spread of prostate cancer.
The findings of the study indicate that prostate cancer is one of fatal cancer types occurring in the world today. The illness mainly occurs in male and is predominant in people with African backgrounds. Early screening for the disease can yield inaccurate results hence most medical practitioners discourage early diagnosis of the illness. However, a person at the age of 50 can be taken through the screening process if they are high-risk individuals. Environmental and genetic factors play a role in the occurrence and development of prostate cancer. The factors include age, gender, ethnicity, exposure to radiation, lifestyle, and genetics. Behavioral factors can be controlled and used as part of treatment procedure while age, genetics, ethnicity are non- modifiable. The only real chance of managing the illness is to reduce and control the risk factors as the occurrence prostate cancer cannot be prevented.
Recommendations for further research
Gaps still exist in the literature that calls for more studies in the field of behavioral genetics and prostate cancer. The review of the literature revealed that there is limited research on why the people with African ancestry are commonly affected by prostate cancer. Also, further studies can be done conclusively settle the claim that smoking and diet worsen or cause prostate cancer.

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