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Prostate Cancer Genetics

Data have shown that prostate cancer may cluster in some families.

Prostate cancer seems to run in some families, which suggests that in some cases there may be an inherited or genetic factor. Having a father or brother with prostate cancer more than doubles a man's risk of developing this disease. (The risk is higher for men who have a brother with the disease than for those with an affected father.) The risk is much higher for men with several affected relatives, particularly if their relatives were young at the time the cancer was found. This also includes relatives with breast, ovarian, colon, or pancreatic cancer.

In addition, scientists have found several inherited gene changes that seem to raise prostate cancer risk, but they probably account for only a small number of cases overall. Genetic testing for these changes is now available in the Urologic Oncology, Medical Oncology, and Radiation Oncology clinics for men with prostate cancer who meet current testing criteria. Testing is typically performed with a blood draw, and genetic counseling services are available for patients with any positive findings present on genetic testing.

There is also a Prostate Cancer Risk Clinic at the University of Michigan for men with genetic mutations that are known -- or suspected -- to increase the risk of prostate cancer.

If you have learned you have any of the following genetic mutations:

  • BRCA1 or BRCA2
  • Lynch Syndrome
  • Li-Fraumeni syndrome (p53 gene)
you should consider being seen in the Prostate Cancer Risk Clinic.

If you have not been tested but have a history of cancer in your family, please contact our Cancer Genetics Clinic at 734-763-2532 and ask them about getting screened.

Still have questions?

The nurses at Cancer AnswerLine™ have answers. Call 800-865-1125 and you'll get a personal response from one of our registered nurses, who have years of experience in caring for people with cancer.

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