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Learn about the role of genetics in prostate cancer.

07 Mar 2023
Learn about the role of genetics in prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in men, with an incidence of 13.5% worldwide. It is a disease in which a neoplasm occurs in the prostate, a gland in the male reproductive system whose function is to produce substances that make up semen. Although in the initial phases it usually does not present symptoms, when it does, the most common include problems urinating, pain in the lower back and during ejaculation.

Early detection is essential to combat this type of cancer, especially considering that 80% of cases are diagnosed after the age of 64. In this sense, screening programs based on the quantification of prostate antigen PSA are the most effective, since they allow cancer to be detected even before symptoms appear.

But why does prostate cancer occur? Although the exact cause is not known with certainty, certain risk factors have been identified that favor its appearance. The first of these is age, since the risk of developing prostate cancer increases as you get older. In fact, 80% of cases are diagnosed in men older than 64 years.

Another risk factor is ethnicity. African-American men have a higher risk of developing prostate cancer than men of other ethnicities. In addition, having a family history of the disease also increases the risk of suffering from it, especially if it is a direct relative.

In this sense, genetics plays a fundamental role in the development of prostate cancer. It is estimated that around 10% of cases have a genetic basis, a percentage that increases to 40% in those under 50 years of age. Rare genetic variants associated with the development of familial cancer have been identified, such as those of the BRCA1/2, MUTHY or MSH2 genes, which are present in a small percentage of patients with prostate cancer. But more than 200 common genetic variants have also been identified that increase the risk of this disease.

Therefore, knowing the personal genetic risk of suffering from prostate cancer can be of great help to improve early detection and, therefore, the survival of patients. In this regard, DNA kits such as the tellmeGen Advanced DNA Kit can be a very useful tool for assessing personal genetic risk for prostate and other types of cancer.

In addition, early detection of prostate cancer not only improves survival rates, but may also reduce the need for aggressive treatment and improve patients' quality of life. For example, if cancer is detected at an early stage, it may be sufficient to carry out regular monitoring of the evolution of the disease.

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