By Dr. Jordan Robertson ND
We know that certain cancers seem to fall in families. Breast cancer has identifiable genes that women can be tested for, endometrial and colon cancer appear to have a hereditary connection and then we have hereditary prostate cancer (HPC).
Hereditary prostate cancer includes families where prostate cancer has been detected in 3 or more generations or with 3 first degree relatives who have have had PC, or if 2 family members have been diagnosed before the age of 55. The reason this distinction between HPC and PC is important, is that it changes the way we monitor patients starting at age 40, and also creates a need for more comprehensive testing to determine your risk, and whether any rises in PSA are due to ‘age’ or if they it’s an early signal of HPC.
If prostate cancer is in a family, men have a 50% chance of developing prostate cancer.
PSA is our general screening marker for prostate cancer, and is an indicator of prostate inflammation of multiple causes. Men who have a family history of PC should be screened earlier than men without (by about age 40) and should have a total and free PSA run as two separate tests. This difference in testing may help detect early changes in prostate health, by indicating if slight changes in PSA are in fact early markers for prostate cancer.
If you have a strong family history of PC, or are concerned about your risk, ensure that you are having the right tests done at the right stage of your life. Comparing your types of PSA can eliminate the need for biopsy, or could prioritize your case if HPC is well indicated.
If you have questions about this, please ask the office. These simple tests could be a lifesaver.
An ND can implement many preventive strategies for HPC that look at dietary carcinogens, anti-inflammatory herbs and hormone modulators that can reduce your risk.