​​Can I Pass Prostate Cancer to My Children?

​​Can I Pass Prostate Cancer to My Children?

In 2024, the American Cancer Society estimates that there will be approximately 299,010 new cases of prostate cancer and 35,250 deaths from the disease in the United States. Approximately one in eight men will develop prostate cancer at some point in their lives. However, certain risk factors increase the odds, such as:

Most men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer don’t die from it. The cancer is slow-growing, and cure rates are high, particularly when it’s caught early.

However, if you’ve had prostate cancer yourself or have a family history of the disease, you may be worried for your children’s future. You don’t want to pass on a disease that could endanger their lives or reduce their quality of life.

Alex Lesani, MD, is an expert urologist who diagnoses and treats prostate cancer at our offices in Las Vegas, Nevada. He also offers prostate cancer screening with prostate-antigen specific (PSA) tests and digital rectal exams (DREs).

Are your boys doomed to develop prostate cancer and your girls at high risk for ovarian or breast cancers? Although genetics play a role in prostate and other cancers, they aren’t the whole story.

Most prostate cancers aren’t genetic

If you have been diagnosed with prostate cancer, your first concern is probably for your own health. But if you’ve been undergoing regular prostate cancer screening, your cancer was probably found in an early, treatable, and potentially curable stage.

Your second concern may be for your children. Do they have to live with the specter of reproductive cancers over their heads because of the genes they inherited from you?

The majority of prostate cancers aren’t associated with a genetic predisposition. The prostate cancers that are most likely to be passed through the genes are those that are extremely aggressive or have already spread (i.e., metastasized) to other parts of your body.

Your urologist lets you know how aggressive your cancer is by giving you something called a Gleason score. If your Gleason score is seven or higher, then your cancer is aggressive.

Familial prostate cancer raises risk

If prostate cancer or other kinds of cancers, such as ovarian cancer in women, run in your family, you and your children may be at increased risk. Simple tests can determine if you have genetic mutations that put you and your children at risk, such as: 

However, even if you’re positive, genes aren’t destiny. Even if you have mutations that put you at higher risk, and even if you’ve passed them to your children, that doesn’t mean that anyone will develop cancer. It just means you should start screening earlier and adopt lifestyle changes that lower your risk.

You can pass on knowledge, too

No matter what your personal or familial history, no matter how at risk your children may be, you can help them reduce their risk by sharing your knowledge about prostate, breast, pancreatic, and ovarian cancers. Assure your children that merely inheriting genes doesn’t mean that they’ll develop cancer one day.

Set an example for them by following Dr. Lesani’s lifestyle tips, such as adopting a whole-food diet and exercising regularly. If you or they are overweight, ask for help with medically assisted weight-loss programs.

 If you’re sedentary, we help you find an exercise regimen that works with your current fitness level and helps you become stronger and healthier with time. Include your children in these changes so they can make healthy changes as young as possible.

Genetic treatments and prevention are coming 

Prostate cancer is never inevitable. In the meantime, our increased knowledge of how genes trigger cancer growth has also led to research into customized, gene-based treatments. Soon, gene-based counseling will be part of prostate cancer screening.

In the meantime, new drugs target genetic mutations and help repair damaged DNA caused by cancer. For instance, a drug called olaparib targets BRCA-mutated ovarian cancers. 

If you currently have prostate cancer, your treatment varies by your Gleason score. Low scores may only need active surveillance. Higher scores could require chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery, with or without hormone therapy.

Do you have a personal or familial history of prostate cancer? Call our team at 702-470-2579 or book your appointment online for prostate cancer screening or treatment today.

 

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