March 16, 2009 -- Question: What is prostate cancer and how common is it?
Answer: Little is known about what actually causes prostate cancer. It's probably a number of things, but perhaps most importantly are environmental factors. For example, diet seems to be critically important. We know that if people, for example, move from Japan to the United States within one generation their risk for prostate cancer almost equals those that have lived in the United States their whole lives. This may be due to something in the diet that's either protective from prostate cancer that's missing when they move here or something in the diet that's causing prostate cancer. We also know that genetics, a predisposition, an inherited form of the disease is also one of the prevalent causes of prostate cancer.