Dexter Scott King's Cause Of Death Explained

Dexter Scott King, the son of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., died on Sunday at his home in California of prostate cancer. King was 62.

King was the third youngest child of Dr. King and Coretta Scott King. King's wife, Leah Weber King, said in a statement that he died in his sleep (via CNN). "He gave it everything and battled this terrible disease until the end," she said. "As with all the challenges in his life, he faced this hurdle with bravery and might."

Martin Luther King III, who is the older brother of Dexter, said he was devastated at his brother's passing. "It is hard to have the right words at a moment like this. We ask for your prayers at this time for the entire King family," he said in a statement (via NBC News).

King was the chairman of The King Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the legacy of Dr. King and his emphasis on nonviolent activism. King was 7 years old when his father was shot in Memphis in 1968 (per CNN).

How common is prostate cancer?

Prostate cancer is the second most common type of cancer in men, affecting about 1 out of every 8 men in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society. Although the risk of prostate cancer is highest in men over 65, African American and Caribbean men of African descent also have a high risk. Men who are at an average risk for prostate cancer should begin screening at age 50. Those at high risk, such as African American men or those who have a first-degree relative who was diagnosed with prostate cancer at an early age, should be screened even earlier at age 45. And, those who are at very high risk, having more than one first-degree relative who had prostate cancer at an early age, should be screened at age 40.

Prostate cancer is treatable, but the survival rate depends on the stage of diagnosis, according to Cancer Research UK. Most people survive if diagnosed in the first two stages of prostate cancer, and 95% of people have a five-year survival in stage 3. Men who have stage 4 prostate cancer have a 50% survival rate after five years.

A few factors can protect you from prostate cancer. The National Cancer Institute says that men who consumed folate from foods like green vegetables, orange juice, and beans had lower incidences of prostate cancer in a 10-year study. Folic acid found in supplements didn't have this protective effect. Finasteride and dutasteride could lower your risk for prostate cancer by interfering with an enzyme that changes the male sex hormone into a hormone that can promote the development of prostate cancer.