Thanks. My dad got his PCa at 61, and his dad did within his 70's. I'm 40, my odds pretty high due to this family history?
ipoop, halbert pretty much nailed it in his reply. There IS a very small element of hereditary PC, but the risks of PC in the family are generally inflated. A great quote came out of THIS
Medscape article which summarized causes of PC: "familial aggregation of prostate cancer may be at least partially caused by increased diagnostic activity."
If (as in your case) your dad was diagnosed, or for others perhaps it was their brother diagnosed with PC, then you are more apt to begin PSA testing earlier than others who were not touched by PC quite so closely, and more PSA testing is the first step onto the well-known "unstoppable slippery slope" of PSA test—>biopsy—>diagnosis—>treatment. Routine PSA screening has been shown to have no significant effect on all-cause mortality, but does increase the probability of being diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Please note that your comment above talked about
when dad and grandpa "got" prostate cancer...but really those were the ages that they were diagnosed with PC. PC is ubiquitous, and slow growing...they probably both "got" PC a decade or two (or more) before they were diagnosed. The ubiquity of PC is very relevant to your comment...let me explain further and tie everything together for you...
We know from the study of human biology that cancer is caused by mutated (damaged) genes. Cancer-causing mutations interrupt the function of genes that either keep the cell dividing at the normal rythm or prevent mutations from accumulating. What causes gene mutations? There are 3 types of causes
There ARE hereditary mutations which can cause PC—the same BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes that can cause breast cancer in women may cause prostate cancer in men. These damaged genes can pass generation-to-generation, and when they do every cell in the person's body contains the mutation...including cells of the ovaries and testes, which make the egg and sperm, which allows the mutation to be passed on. But in the big picture these cases are rare compared to how ubiquitous PC is; hereditary (inherited) prostate cancer accounts for only about
5% of all diagnosed cases.
Most PC (about
75%) is considered (2)
"sporadic," meaning that the damage to the genes occurs by chance after a person is born. The remaining roughly 20% is (3)
"familial" PC which (notably very different than the inherited "hereditary" PC) is due to gene mutation after birth caused by shared genes and exposures to susceptible to environmental and/or lifestyle factors...in other words, one may not have the BRCA mutated genes, but other weak genes may be shared in the family which might get damaged by an accumulated exposure over time to toxins...maybe in the air or water near where you live, or by the same poor diet where you, your dad and your brothers all ate together. As Dr Servan-Schreiber wrote in his book Anti-Cancer, "Yes, cancer runs in families, but that is because our parents pass on their poor lifestyle habits, which matter more than their genes."
The highly "sporadic" nature of most PC cases has lead Dr Patrick Walsh--one of the best-known PC surgeons--to comment: "Prostate cancer is so common that even if there is a hereditary factor, there will be other members of the family who will get the disease sporadically."
Post Edited (Blackjack) : 2/22/2019 1:00:20 PM (GMT-7)