Study Shows Men are Interested in Knowing Their Genetic Risk of Prostate Cancer

All men are at a risk for developing prostate cancer, but risk increases with older age. A research study published in American Journal of Men’s Health, SAGE Journals, found that more men are showing willingness to learn the risk of genetic predisposition to prostate cancer and opting for genetic test to determine the severity of prostate cancer.

In addition, they want to receive the results to be fully aware of the aggressiveness of cancer and whether it is progressing rapidly or not. They are even willing to share results with their first-degree relatives (FDR).

With the increasing number of serious prostate cancer cases, it is becoming difficult for physicians and patients to decide which treatment option is best for patients to differentiate between rapidly growing cancer and slowly progressing cancer. Therefore, researchers conducted a study at Penn State College of Medicine and Moffitt Cancer Center, USA, to understand the genetic causes of aggressive prostate cancer. It will help in understanding and deciding the best possible treatment option both for patients and physicians.

Prostate cancer is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality amongst men of all races as well as Hispanic origin population.  In America, over 13 men out of 100 will get prostate cancer and over 2 to 3 men will die out of prostate cancer, states CDC. The most common risk factor is the age, family history, genetics, and ethnicity. African – American men and men with family history in addition to genetics of prostate cancer are at increased risk of developing prostate cancer during their lifetime.

Source: Prostate cancer UK.
How Prostate cancer spreads genetically? Source: Cancer Research UK.

Health Units got in touch with Siddharta Roy, of Penn State College of Medicine, and asked him why risk education of genetic tests for prostate cancer is so important. He says:

Risk education is important because it can impact prostate cancer treatment and screening decisions for patients and their unaffected first-degree relatives. Potential treatment options for aggressive prostate cancer may be more likely to be considered, and this information could be helpful for first-degree relatives in their decision to talk to their doctor about getting screened for prostate cancer (i.e., informed decision making).

When asked how it will reduce the risk of prostate cancer in young males, he says:

Young males could potentially benefit by this information by encouraging them to see a doctor about getting screened for prostate cancer and thus, potentially finding prostate cancer early.

Prostate Cancer Genetic Risk Study

In the study, researchers investigated patients’ interest in getting the genetic test and receiving their genetic results. It helped in understanding preferences of patients which made it easier for physicians to decide how they should communicate the information regarding genetic risk with the respective patients. The University of South Florida Institutional Review Board approved this research study of 50 patients of prostate cancer who were treated at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, FL, with an informed consent to participate and for future contact between February 2003 and October 2009. These patients were contacted again from a large epidemiological study of prostate cancer of 1218 patients conducted between 2012 and 2013 at the genitourinary (GU) clinic at Moffitt Cancer Center. Patients selected were aged between 18 to 90 years old with the confirmed clinical diagnosis pf prostate cancer within the past year and no previous history of other cancer except skin type cancer.

The first 50 patients were selected for this study and surveyed through a “nine-item survey” to assess their thoughts and attitudes towards the genetic testing and determine the prostate cancer aggressiveness which had the potential to recur, progress and spread to the other organs through metastasis. Participants answered the questions associated with hypothetical and presumed scenarios that included increased cancer spread and severity.

It was found that patients showed more interest to receive genetic risk information of prostate cancer when they understood the increased hypothetical risk of prostate cancer. The results revealed that over 76% of patients preferred receiving information in the form of DVD, 75% wanted in the form of one-page informed sheet, and 70% preferred the educational booklet. Overall, 98% patients responded affirmative and showed willingness to share their test results with their first-degree relatives (FDR).

The research findings of the study emphasize the importance of studying patients’ willingness to receive and share the genetic risk information of their prostate cancer. It implicates there is a need for research interventions to assess the short-term and long-term benefits of receiving and sharing information of genetic risk for prostate cancer patients in future.

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