Hereditary Prostate Cancer

Posted 4 years ago

Hereditary Prostate Cancer: What You Need To Know

Prostate cancer is one of the most prevalent cancer types in men. Although the cause of this common cancer type still remains largely unclear in many men, it is now being recognized as more than just an inevitable disease of aging.

Research has shown that approximately 1 in 6 men with prostate cancer were born with an inherited genetic mutation that may have a significant impact for both the patient and his family members. In these cases, mutations in genes that increase the risk for prostate cancer are present in every cell of the body and can be passed down through the generations of a family. These mutations often occur in genes that repair damage to DNA, including the well known BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.

Hereidtary Prostate CancerMutations in these two genes are best known for increasing the risk for breast and ovarian cancer in women, but they also increase the risk for prostate cancer in men. Other genes, such as CHEK2, ATM, HOXB13, and genes tied to a condition known as Lynch syndrome could also harbor inherited mutations that would cause an increased risk for prostate cancer. Identifying an inherited risk for prostate cancer can aid in a patients treatment options, allow for a more tailored screening plan, and identify at risk family members.

So how do you determine if you or your family may be at risk for an inherited predisposition to prostate cancer? Here are some clues:

  • A personal and/or family history of prostate cancer, especially if diagnosed before the age of 55 and especially those with advanced or metastatic disease (prostate cancer that has spread to another part of the body)
  • A family history of prostate cancer coupled with a personal and/or family history of breast, ovarian, colon or pancreatic cancer

A simple blood or saliva test can be done to help determine if you carry an inherited risk for prostate cancer, so be sure to share your family history of cancer with your doctor. If appropriate, your doctor may refer you to a genetic counselor to help you decide if genetic testing is right for you and to aid in genetic test result interpretation.

Learning you may be genetically predisposed to prostate cancer may help you make significant decisions to protect your health and the health of your family.


Mandy Kass, MS, CGC

Mandy Kass

As a certified oncology genetic counselor, Mandy works with patients who have a personal and/or family history of cancer to assess their risk of having an inherited cancer predisposition. This information allows for the pursuit of early detection or possibly prevention of certain cancer types.

The ultimate goal of cancer genetic counseling is to empower patients to use their personal risk information to better inform treatment and management decisions and to educate family members on their possible cancer risks.

Mandy obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Arizona State University in 2013. She then went on to pursue her Master’s Degree in Human Genetics from Sarah Lawrence College and graduated in 2016. Her training in genetic counseling included clinical rotations at several locations throughout New York City, including Columbia University Medical Center, Mount Sinai Beth Israel, and Bellevue Hospital.

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