Hereditary Prostate Cancer and Genetics

Did you know that in Indian metro cities, prostate cancer is the second leading type of cancer among males and sixth leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide?

It is the second most common cause of cancer and the sixth leading cause of deaths resulting from cancer among men worldwide. The worldwide number of prostate cancer is expected to reach 1.7 million new cases and 5 lakh deaths in next 15 years. The major reason of this phenomenon is the increasing global population.

Between 1971 and 1975, only 21 per cent of patients lived for at least 10 years after diagnosis. In 2010-2011, the figure reached to 84 per cent. Thanks to the advanced treatments, early diagnosis, and availability of path breaking medications.

About Prostate cancer

Prostate cancer has become a major health problem in the industrialized world during the last few decades of the 20th century contributing to around 75% of the registered cases across the globe. Incidence rates of prostate cancer vary by more than 25 fold worldwide, the highest rates being in Australia/New Zealand, Western and Northern Europe, and North America. Rates of prostate cancer are low in Asian and North African countries, however, the number is increasing in developing countries like India. Out of total diagnosed cases, 75 percent of cases are of men over 75 years of age.

Genes and prostate cancer

One of the causes of prostate cancer is genetic make-up of an individual. Around 10 percent of all prostate cancers are present in families. A recent study throws more light on this topic and explores the various factors involved in prostate cancer. Researchers at the National Institutes of Health identified a gene common in families with a history of prostate cancer. In this study, approximately 100 families with a strong family history of the disease were screened and found that mutations in the HPC-1 gene may lead to develop prostate cancer.

Hereditary Cancer Screening

Genetic screening identifies the gene mutations and the risk of the genetic disorders and many other diseases in an individual, if any. Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) platforms enable us to examine the genetic mutations in members of families with high incidence of cancer. Thus it becomes easy to take measures accordingly that will prevent the cancer as well as improve the life quality of the person, if cancer is present.

Men with BRCA 2 mutation have increased risk of prostate and breast cancer.

Risk reduction options

There are many causes of Prostate cancer out if which genetics is one. Obesity and diet high in animal fats is also attributed to this cancer. However, this type of cancer is often completely curable if diagnosed on time and treated accordingly. There are many treatment options available nowadays for e.g.-  radiation therapy, surgery, hormone therapy, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy. It also requires nutrition and lifestyle changes.

Better screening provides early and better diagnosis of the cancer, helping patient for a better life using correct treatments. Screening helps to identify the future risks hence, it’s advised that men should undergo regular check ups for prostate cancer.

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Lung cancer and its causes beyond smoking

In India, lung cancer constitutes more than 7 per cent of all new cancer cases and around 10 per cent of all cancer related deaths. This is applicable for both genders. Lung cancer is the commonest cancer and biggest cause of cancer related mortality in men. Whenever we read about lung cancer, the first thought that comes to our mind is smoking. Indeed, smoking is the biggest cause of lung cancer, however, other factors cannot be overlooked as they too affect both the genders equally. One of those is our genetic make-up.

Lung cancer tops the list of cancers in males – In India and globally.

While smoking is a known risk factor, pollution, passive smoking and hazardous work environment – like asbestos, mica, coal and bauxite mining. 15% of the lung cancer cases in India are often attributed to a combination of genetic factors, radon gas, asbestos, pesticides and air pollution including passive and static smoking.

Second hand smoke

It is one of the important factors in tobacco-related deaths in India. Second-hand smoke is the one that fills enclosed places like restaurants, offices when people smoke cigarettes, cigars, or bidis. Tobacco smoke contains more than 4000 chemicals in out of which at least 250 are harmful and more than 50 chemicals from it are known to cause cancer. This also affects children as many of them regularly breathe polluted air in public spaces which has smoke in it. Around 45% children have either of the parents having smoking habit.
Britain recently made a law that stops anyone from smoking in a car that has passengers below 18 years of age. More than 2 lakh people die because of second hand smoke in India.


Lung cancer is more common in the people who work in sectors like auto mechanics, construction workers, insulation installer, roofers, paper mill workers, etc. Risk of Lung cancer increases from exposure to asbestos every year by 4 percent.

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Image credits-

Genetic Make up

Genes and genetic variations in our body contribute to the bodily functions and overall health. This also includes the possibility of having various diseases which are hereditary or developed in our body due to changes in the genetic codes. Researchers studied entire genomes of cancer patients as well as healthy individuals and found out a region on chromosome 15 which may have been influential in causing lung cancer. Mutations in CHEK 2 gene also largely affect the risk of lung cancer. Some people inherit a reduced ability or inability to break down certain types of cancer-causing chemicals in the body. E.g. those found in tobacco smoke. This increases their risk of lung cancer.

Datar Genetics Limited offers Hereditary Cancer Screening test which identifies such risk for lung and other forms of cancer. This test can help your doctor to decide further course of treatment.

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