Men with a genetic risk of developing prostate cancer need extra testing every year after they turn 40, say scientists at the Institute of Cancer Research

Men born with a genetically high risk of developing prostate cancer & # 39; must undergo a blood test every year from the age of 40 & # 39;

  • Men can carry the BRCA2 gene, a mutation that also causes breast cancer
  • According to scientists, these men must be identified every year and undergo blood tests
  • Their research showed that men with the defective gene were diagnosed at an earlier age

Men with a genetically high risk of developing prostate cancer have to be checked every year after they turn 40, scientists say.

One in four men who have a DNA defect – a mutation on the BRCA2 gene – will develop the deadly disease at some point in their lives.

About one in 300 men in the UK has the mutation, which is similar to the BRCA-1 gene error from Angelina Jolie. But most will not know because it is not routinely tested.

Researchers now say that if all those men can be identified, they should receive an annual blood test to detect tumors early.


In one study, men with the BRCA2 gene error who had a blood test were diagnosed at a younger age – an average of 61 years, compared to 64.

Men with a genetic risk of developing prostate cancer need extra testing every year after they turn 40, say scientists at the Institute of Cancer Research

Men with a genetic risk of developing prostate cancer need extra testing every year after they turn 40, say scientists at the Institute of Cancer Research

Experts from the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), London, said that men with the mutated BRCA2 gene should be checked for elevated prostate specific antigen (PSA) every year.

Prostate specific antigen (PSA), a protein made only by the prostate gland, is rising in people with prostate cancer.

But PSA levels are not considered a reliable method for screening the general population – only those at risk.

The ICR study assessed the potential benefits of PSA testing in men with BRCA2 mutations in 65 centers in 20 different countries around the world.


PSA tests included prostate cancer more often, at a younger age and in more dangerous forms, in men with BRCA2 mutations than in non-carriers.

Men with the BRCA2 gene error were almost twice as likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer as non-carriers, the scientists said.

It is crucial that men with the BRCA2 gene error more often had serious, potentially life-threatening tumors.

Professor Ros Eeles, who led the study, said: “We are now calling on regulators to update the guidelines so that men with BRCA2 defects can receive regular PSA screening.

& # 39; Every man older than 40 who carries a mutation in the BRCA2 gene must be offered an annual PSA test. & # 39;


The BRCA2 gene error is usually associated with breast and ovarian cancer in women – with those who carry it have a 50 to 85 percent risk of developing breast cancer at the age of 70.

Men can be tested for BRCA2 if such cancers occur in the family, with results available within a month. But this is not available everywhere in the UK.

At present there is insufficient evidence to say whether or not to test for mutations, even in men with a family history of cancer.

The PSA test is controversial because it can miss prostate cancer – one in seven men with a normal PSA level can have prostate cancer.

But some men may be forced to undergo more tests, such as a biopsy, due to a false positive result.


Prostate cancer UK said that decisions about whether or not to offer high-risk blood tests should be carefully considered each year.

Dr. Matthew Hobbs, deputy research director for charity, said: & We are financing a project to model the long-term effectiveness of a range of potential screening strategies, including determining whether there are certain risk groups for whom the benefits of regular screening outweigh the potential for over-treatment.

& # 39; Screening of all men with a BRCA2 mutation may be one of the answers, so we will carefully review the results of this study. & # 39;

The guidelines committee of the European Association of Urology will now consider the evidence from the ICR, which was presented at the NCRI Cancer Conference 2019 in Glasgow.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men with nearly 48,000 diagnoses a year in the UK and more than 1.2 million worldwide.



Prostate cancer is the growth of tumors in the prostate gland.

Only men have a prostate, a walnut-sized gland between the rectum and the penis that creates a fluid that must be mixed with sperm to make sperm.

How many people does it kill?

More than 11,800 men a year – or one every 45 minutes – are now killed by prostate cancer in Britain, compared to around 11,400 women who die of breast cancer.

It means that prostate cancer is behind lung and intestinal tracts in terms of the number of people it kills in Britain. In the US, the disease kills 26,000 each year.

Nevertheless, it receives less than half of the research funding for breast cancer – while treatments for the disease are at least ten years behind.

How fast is it developing?

Prostate cancer usually develops slowly, so there can be no signs that someone has it for years, according to the NHS.

If the cancer is at an early stage and causes no symptoms, a policy of & # 39; can wait alert & # 39; or & # 39; active surveillance & # 39; are accepted.

Some patients can be cured if the disease is treated at an early stage.


But if it is diagnosed at a later stage, when it has spread, it becomes terminal and the treatment revolves around relieving symptoms.

Thousands of men are delayed to make a diagnosis because of the known side effects of the treatment, including erectile dysfunction.

Testing and treatment

Tests for prostate cancer are haphazard, with accurate tools that are just starting to show up.

There is no national prostate screening program because the tests have been too inaccurate for years.


Doctors have difficulty distinguishing between aggressive and less severe tumors, making it difficult to choose a treatment.

Men over 50 are eligible for a "PSA" blood test that gives doctors a rough idea of ​​whether a patient is at risk.

But it is unreliable. Patients who receive a positive result usually receive a biopsy that is also not watertight.

Scientists are not sure what causes prostate cancer, but age, obesity, and lack of exercise are known risks.

Anyone with concerns can contact the Prostate Cancer UK specialist nurses on 0800 074 8383 or come to visit


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