March 16, 2009 -- Question: Are there certain parts of the country where the risk of developing prostate cancer is higher?
Answer: It's a complicated question, and there are papers which demonstrate geographic differences. There's a higher incidence of mortality in certain parts of the country -- the Northwest, the South Atlantic states, the New England states, some of the Rocky Mountain states and the North Central states. However, I think we need to temper our understanding of the fact that there may be geographic differences.
We also know that there are many differences in diet -- genetic constitution has a major impact on prostate cancer. And we know, for example, when Asian people, who have normally a low incidence of prostate cancer in Japan or china, move to San Francisco - with a change in diet, their incidence of prostate cancer increases. So it's multifactorial; geography is only one part of it.