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Important Information for Urologists on Hereditary Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is currently the most common cancer in men over the age of 50 and the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Estimations show that in 2018 alone, 165,000 men would be diagnosed with prostate cancer and over 29,000 men suffering from it would die from this disease.

African American men are almost twice as likely to develop prostate cancer compared to Caucasian men and are twice as likely to die from it. Caucasian men are less likely to have genetic mutations of the DNA repair genes, namely, BRCA1 and BRCA2 at 2.2% as compared to African American men at 7.3%. This means that when prostate cancer hits, African American men experience it more aggressively and it takes a shorter time to spread.

Urologists have been in the frontline in the care of men diagnosed with localized prostate cancer. With the development of drugs used in the management of terminal metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC), urologists have become even more involved in the care of prostate cancer patients.

Cancer can be hereditary based on genetic mutation.

  • There is a better understanding of how cancer develops at the molecular level. Particularly, the genetic aspect of malignant cell development cannot be ignored. It is therefore essential that urologists factor in genetic counselling and testing to improve cancer care.
  • The risk of hereditary cancer is increased when an altered gene is passed from a parent to a child. Mutation-causing events on this already damaged gene ultimately increases the risk of developing cancer. Hereditary cancer has the potential of causing more aggressive cancers, multiple cancers and rare cancers.
  • Hereditary cancers feature in 5% to 10% of patients that have prostate cancer. Based on genetic mutation, some treatment options are not advisable for some patients as they may cause the onset of other cancers.

Urologists must therefore be very keen in the handling of their patients and their treatment recommendations in general. Great strides have been made in the study of genetic mutation as regards cancer and this information should be put to good use.