Should I be concerned if close relatives are diagnosed with Prostate Cancer?

Armen Hareyan's picture
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Dear Doctor Klotz:

I'm a 42 year-old healthy male, but my father and older brother both have been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Should I be concerned for my own health and is there is anything I can do to avoid getting prostate cancer?

- Healthy but Concerned

Dear Healthy but Concerned:

Having a close relative with prostate cancer is considered a risk factor for developing it yourself. In fact, hereditary prostate cancer accounts for 10 to 15 per cent of all cases and tends to develop at a relatively early age (before the age of 55). An individual who has two first-degree relatives (father and brother) with prostate cancer may be up to eight times more at risk of developing prostate cancer in his lifetime than a man with no family history. But don't despair! There are steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer, most importantly through diet and exercise.

Be sure to maintain a healthy diet that is low in fat, and high in fruits, vegetables and grains. And don't forget to exercise - at least 30 minutes per day, three times a week.

Finally, speak to your doctor about your family history and your own health to make sure you are doing everything you can to minimize the risk of developing prostate cancer.

-Dr. Lawrence Klotz

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Dr. Klotz is is currently a Professor in the Department of Surgery, University of Toronto and Chief, Division of Urology, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.

- News Canada

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