Research in Sweden published on Monday found family history an important factor in men developing various types of prostate cancer.
“Men with brothers who have had prostate cancer run twice as high a risk of being diagnosed themselves in comparison to the general population,” the study by Umea University and Lund University said.
“It’s well known that men with prostate cancer in the family have a higher risk of the disease,” said Par Stattin, researcher at the Department of Surgical and Perioperative Sciences and principal investigator of Prostate Cancer data Base Sweden (PCBaSe) , which was the basis for the study.
“Prostate cancer is often a rather indolent disease with favourable prognosis that often doesn’t require treatment but there are also aggressive types that can be mortal. The ability to differ between these types is therefore important. Up until now, there has been no knowledge about the absolute magnitudes of these risks,” Stattin said.
Based on studies there are over 50,000 men in Sweden whose brothers and fathers had prostate cancer. The results show men with one brother with prostate cancer had a 30 per cent risk of being diagnosed themselves before the age of 75.
This compares with 13 per cent among other men without a family history of the disease. The group also had a 9 per cent risk of an aggressive form compared with 5 per cent among other men.
The results also show men with both a father and a brother with prostate cancer had a threefold risk of prostate cancer themselves: a 48 per cent risk of any form of prostate cancer (compared with 13 per cent among other men) and 14 per cent for aggressive cancer (compared with 5 per cent among other men).
Additionally, the risk of an aggressive prostate cancer was typically as high in those whose brothers or fathers had the mildest form as those who had an aggressive prostate cancer in the family.
Swedish National Guidelines for prostate cancer states that men with two or more close relatives with prostate cancer should be recommended for prostate screenings between 40 and 50 years of age.
The check-ups involve regular prostrate-specific antigen (PSA) testing and potentially also examinations of the prostate gland.
The study has been published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.