Prostate Cancer

US researchers have found that men with prostrate cancer have an increased risk of aggressive tumor if they are carriers of a gene mutation which is normally linked to breast cancer in women. This finding could have major implications in treatment options for prostrate cancer. If a patient carries the mutated gene, he may want to opt against watchful waiting of prostrate cancer, where it is just monitored and not treated. Surgery or radiation treatment would be the best option here.


It is difficult to distinguish between aggressive tumors and the ones who may stay without spreading or enlarging. The researchers examined 979 men with prostrate cancer and 1251 men without the cancer. They looked at whether the men carried the mutations of the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes. These are the genes that cause an increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer in women.

Only Ashkenazi Jews were included in the study because they are five times more likely to carry the mutation in the genes than the general population. The study found that the mutations did not increase the risk of a man getting prostrate cancer, but those who already had the cancer stood a higher risk of having a more aggressive tumor.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer, after skin cancer, in America. It affects one in six men.

Statistically, more than 192000 men are likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2009. More than 27000 men also die from it. Every 2.7 minutes one new case occurs and a patient dies from the disease every 19 minutes.

More than 2 million Americans are estimated to have this disease currently. Old age, family history of prostrate cancer and African American race are factors that increase the likelihood of this disease.

As men grow older, the risk of developing prostrate cancer also increases exponentially.
1 in 10,000 under the age of 40 will be diagnosed with prostrate cancer. From the ages of 40 to 59, this rate shoots up to 1 in 39. From 60 to 69 years of age, it is 1 in 14. More than 65% of prostate cancer diagnoses are made in men above the age of 65.



African American men have 56% more likelihood to develop prostate cancer than Caucasian men. They are also 2.5 times as likely to die from the disease.

If the father, brother or son has a history of prostrate cancer, the man is twice as likely to develop the disease. If two or more relatives have prostrate cancer history, the likelihood increases to four times.

Now the study conducted on gene mutation and prostrate cancer, estimates that participants with aggressive tumors had 3.2 times more likelihood of carrying the BRCA2 gene mutation than the men in control group. 




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