Prostate cancer risk linked to these family traits
MEN who have a family history of breast and ovarian cancers are at higher risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer, experts warn.
The Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia said that while having a family history of prostate cancer significantly increased a man's chances of getting the disease, those with relatives diagnosed with breast or ovarian cancer were also more vulnerable.
Foundation CEO Jeff Dunn yesterday urged men with a family history of prostate, breast or ovarian cancer to be particularly vigilant about talking to a general practitioner about their risks.
Professor Dunn said about 20,000 Australian men would be newly diagnosed with prostate cancer this year.
About 3300 Australians die from the cancer each year.
"There's no question there are avoidable deaths from prostate cancer," Prof Dunn said.
"If their fathers, uncles or brothers have had prostate cancer, they've got to pay attention to that.
"We want to pick up this cancer as early as possible so we can treat it as effectively as possible to improve survival rates."
Prof Dunn said men also needed to take heed of a family history of breast or ovarian cancers, particularly those caused by a BRCA1 or BRCA2 genetic mutation.
"We simply must take action to support these men and their families by arming them with information and providing necessary support," he said.
"Australia has one of the highest incidence rates of prostate cancer internationally, with one in six Australian men likely to be diagnosed during their lifetime."
The Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia will this year pump more than $1 million into three new research projects to better detect prostate cancer's progression and further knowledge into how the disease impacts men's lives.
Side effects of treatment can include erectile dysfunction and incontinence.
Prof Dunn, who is also chair of Behavioural and Social Sciences at the University of Southern Queensland, said anxiety and depression was common among prostate cancer patients.
He said they had an increased risk of suicide.
For more information and to support prostate cancer research: pcfa.org.au