SEATTLE. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Researchers in Seattle recently released some surprising findings: men may be at a higher risk for developing advanced prostate cancer if women in their family have had female cancers like ovarian or breast.
Reverend William Dudley first got a tough diagnosis back in 2008. Having prostate cancer was a huge shock, since he didn’t feel sick.
Dudley told Ivanhoe, “It was just my doctor thought she needed to do the exam. She did that exam because I was in that age.”
He started treatment right away, but four years later the cancer had spread. Some of it was in his back. He needed surgery or he might not be able to walk again.
Dudley explained, “They cleaned out the cancer. They put a rod in and three screws, and then from there I won’t say I had to learn to walk again, but I had to learn to walk again.”
Dudley’s family has a history of cancer and now a new international study led by the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance shows a surprising genetic link.
Heather Cheng, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the Prostate Cancer Genetics Clinic at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, said, “This is a big surprising finding and it’s new. It involves many of the same genes that are involved in breast and ovarian cancer risk.” (Read Full Interview)
In the study of nearly 700 men with advanced prostate cancer, they found almost 12 percent had inherited cancer risk genes that likely contributed to their cancer. Some of those same genes like BRCA 1 and 2 that contribute to breast cancer also affect men.
“I think because of the ways these genes were first identified with families that have breast and ovarian cancer, it fell through the cracks a little bit in the importance to men in those families,” detailed Dr. Cheng.
Doctors say it’s important for family members to share that history with each other and their doctors because early detection is key to winning the fight against cancer.
If you would like to learn more about the study just go to seattlecca.org/prostate-genetics.
Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Nicole Sanchez, Field Producer; Milvionne Chery, Assistant Producer; Roque Correa, Editor; Jeff Stern, Videographer.
MEDICAL BREAKTHROUGHS – RESEARCH SUMMARY
TOPIC: Mom’s Cancer Puts Men at Risk?
REPORT: MB #4179
BACKGROUND: Prostate cancer is a disease which only affects men in which cancer begins to grow in the prostate, a gland in the male reproductive system. Prostate cancer is mostly a disease that progresses slowly; in fact, many men die of old age without ever knowing they had prostate cancer. Experts say that prostate cancer starts with tiny alterations in the shape and size of the prostate gland cells called prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia, and 50 percent of all 50-year-old men possess it.
TREATMENTS: In order for doctors to define a prognosis and which therapies to use, they have to know the cancer stage. The most common system that exists today in order to determine the stage of a cancer involves defining the size of the tumor, how many lymph nodes are involved, and whether there are any other metastases. If the cancer is small and contained it is usually managed by one of the following treatments: watchful waiting, radical prostatectomy, brachytherapy, conformal radiotherapy, or intensity modulated radiotherapy. If the cancer is more aggressive, or advanced, the patient may require a combination of radiotherapy and hormone therapy. Radical surgery is also an option where the prostate is completely removed.
NEW TECHNOLOGY: A new international study lead by the University of Washington and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center shows a surprising genetic link. Men with advanced prostate cancer that has spread outside the prostate may carry an inherited cancer risk gene, particularly if there are other cancers in the man’s family, including leukemia and cancers of the breast, ovaries and pancreas. In the study of almost 700 men with advanced prostate cancer, it was found that almost 12 percent had inherited risk genes that likely contributed to their cancer. Some of the same genes like BRCA 1 and 2 (better known as genes increasing the risk of breast and ovarian cancer) can also affect men in the context of prostate cancer. It is important for family members to share medical history with each other and their doctors because early detection is the key to winning the fight against cancer.
(Source: Dr. Heather Cheng)
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