Genetic Tests May One Day Identify Prostate Cancer Risks

Posted by CancerInformation on July 30th, 2015

As prostate cancer continues to earn the dubious distinction of being the second leading cancer killer of American men – just after skin cancer – researchers are seeking out new ways to identify those at risk. One study may someday pave the way for simple genetic testing to identify those men who should be more closely watched for the disease.

Researchers at the University of California San Francisco teamed up with Kaiser Permanente Northern California to begin the process of looking into genetic links to the disease that might be used to assess risk. The study compared 7,783 men with prostate cancer against 38,595 men without the disease. Researchers were able to identify 105 different bits of DNA that vary among people, but have been associated with prostate cancer risk. While any one of these DNA variants only slightly increases risk, researchers have found that men with certain combinations of variants were among the highest 10 percent of those at risk for the disease. In fact, they were six times more likely to be diagnosed.

The hope now is to take those findings to develop an early screening blood or urine test. Once developed, the test could help doctors more easily identify patients who are the most likely to develop prostate cancer during the course of their lives. This, in turn, could lead to more rapid diagnosis in high risk patients. Early diagnosis of prostate cancer has been shown to increase survival chances greatly. Men who discover this disease early often find a wide variety of treatment options available to them.

Prostate cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in men. Those who are concerned about the disease and their risks are urged to speak with their personal physicians. Screening for the disease generally begins later in life. Right now the screening involves a physical exam of the prostate gland and a simple blood test.

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Dr. Echt and his team at the Prostate Seed Institute offer the most highly sophisticated methods of radiation therapy available in the United States, equal to that found in major medical center and academic settings. These include prostate seed implantation, high dose radiation implants, and external beam radiation with image-guided and intensity-modulated (IGRT and IMRT) capabilities.

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