Advice If You Have a Family History of Prostate Cancer


Men who are at risk for prostate cancers such
as those with a family history or those of African-American descent should have regular
screening for prostate cancer via a PSA and digital rectal exam annually after age 40.
Family history of prostate cancer includes brothers, fathers, or paternal grandfathers,
so a maternal grandfather history is not as important. The PSA should be done annually
in order to track your baseline and watch for any sharp rises in your PSA. That is a
current recommendation to detect prostate cancer earlier in those who are at high risk. Some prostate cancers are high risk, aggressive,
and more likely to spread. Others are low risk, least likely to have bad outcomes. The
biopsy says cancer, but correct diagnostic tools provide limited information about how
aggressive a man’s individual disease is, so most men decide to treat prostate cancer
immediately. Once treated, many men experience serious long term side effects like incontinence
and sexual impotence. Immediate treatment is not always needed, but right now a man
cannot be sure, if his cancer is the kind that is likely to require treatment or if
he is okay to wait for now. What if there was a test that could determine how aggressive
prostate cancer is? Genomic Health is developing a new test to do just that by reviewing the
underlying biology of the tumor and using genes for multiple biologic pathways. The
test can predict the aggressiveness of prostate cancer when diagnosed, allowing a man to make
a more informed treatment decision with confidence, taking care of himself with more information
and greater peace of mind.

Comments 1

  • Many people are unaware of their family history of prostate cancer and live in the dark. If you're lucky enough to know about your family history, Dr. Tutrone provides some actionable steps to manage your increased risk factor. 

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