What is the Genetic Risk of Prostate Cancer?

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Dennis R. Hill M.D. Medical Director of the HDR Prostate Brachytherapy Center and Radiation Oncologist at the Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Oakland, CA discusses the genetic risk of prostate cancer.

This report reaffirms the notion that any man with a family history of prostate cancer should be screened with regular PSA testing.

A study was presented at the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) 63rd Annual Meeting in October last year which showed that prostate cancer is the most inheritable type of cancer.* Data on both identical and fraternal twins from the comprehensive birth-to-death registries in Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden show that a man whose identical twin has prostate cancer has a 32% risk for the disease himself, whereas a fraternal twin whose brother has prostate cancer has only a 16% risk, said Jaakko Kaprio, MD, PhD, professor of genetic epidemiology at the University of Helsinki.

The estimated heritability of prostate cancer — the degree to which genes contribute to risk — was 58%, which is the highest for any malignancy studied, Dr. Kaprio reported. Breast cancer heritability was estimated at 28%.

Dr. Kaprio's team looked at data on 133,689 identical and fraternal pairs as part of the Nordic Twin Registry of Cancer. They used time-to-event analysis to estimate heritability and familial cancer risk.

”This report reaffirms the notion that any man with a family history of prostate cancer should be screened with regular PSA testing and digital rectal exam,” says Dr. Hill.

If prostate cancer is proven on biopsy, treatment options are active surveillance or interventional treatment such as radical surgery, external beam radiation, permanent seed implant or high dose rate brachytherapy. In low risk disease the cure rate is same, over 90%, with any of the treatment methods. However, High Dose Rate Brachytherapy has a very low complication rate compared to the other modalities. There are essentially no rectal complications, no incontinence and a low percentage of erectile dysfunction.

About Dennis R. Hill MD

Dr. Hill is a board certified radiation oncologist doing High Dose Rate brachytherapy exclusively since 2004 and has published scholarly articles on the subject. His office is located at: Dennis R. Hill MD, 3012 Summit Street, Suite 2675, Oakland, CA 94609 510-869-8875. His email is drh(at)dennisrhillmd(dot)com and his website is hdrprostatebrachytherapy.com.

*American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) 63rd Annual Meeting: Abstract 43. Presented October 23, 2013

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