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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