Men with a family history of prostate cancer have better overall survival rates

Men whose family history includes prostate cancer involving two or more male relatives with the disease have a 20% lower mortality risk. This unconventional and surprising news is from a recent longitudinal, multi-institutional UK Genetic Prostate Cancer Study published in European Urology.

Typically, men with close relatives, such as their father or a brother, diagnosed with prostate cancer are warned about their increased risk of developing the disease also. Indeed, men whose fathers or a brother were diagnosed with the disease have a 2 to 4-fold higher chance of also developing prostate cancer.

The reason is prostate cancer tends to have a high heritable risk of 57% which is attributed to genetic factors

Since the risk of contracting prostate cancer for a man with a family history of the disease is significant, it would be expected that their rate of survival would be lower. However, according to this new study, this is not the case. Instead, the researchers concluded that men with a family history are likely more aware of their increased risk and likely more vigilant in screening for prostate cancer than men with no family history of the disease. 

When a man’s doctor is aware of a man’s familial history of prostate cancer, they will likely strongly advise these men to get screened at a younger age and will be more closely monitored as they age. In these cases, the benefits of prostate cancer screening outweigh the risks involved. In addition, it emphasizes prostate cancer awareness campaigns and demonstrates the impact these efforts have on adding more years to a man’s life.  In other words, men genetically inclined for developing the disease, often already know this information thanks to awareness of the risk factors like a strong family history. Therefore, because they are aware of this dilemma, they are more proactive in getting regular PSA blood testing at an earlier age screening for prostate cancer. 

The concern with men and prostate cancer is the fact that men often put off screening for the disease. The study emphasized the problem of the minority population in the U.S. who either skip or are unaware of the importance of the PSA blood test for detecting the disease at an early, more treatable stage. Unfortunately, it is the minority populations who often present with advanced prostate cancer that are more complicated to treat, leading to worse outcomes. 

The study’s overall message is that prostate cancer awareness, with the emphasis on educating men about yearly screening, is critical for saving more men from succumbing to this terrible disease. In addition, the earlier prostate cancer is detected, the better chances for long-term survival. 



Dr. David Samadi is the Director of Men’s Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Long Island. He’s a renowned and highly successful board certified Urologic Oncologist Expert and Robotic Surgeon in New York City, regarded as one of the leading prostate surgeons in the U.S., with a vast expertise in prostate cancer treatment and Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy.  Dr. Samadi is a medical contributor to NewsMax TV and is also the author of The Ultimate MANual, Dr. Samadi’s Guide to Men’s Health and Wellness, available online both on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Visit Dr. Samadi’s websites at robotic oncology and prostate cancer 911. 

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