At the core level, all types of cancers are the result of defects in the genetic codes. The defect causes unrestrained growth of cells leading to malignancy. The cells have their natural mechanism for correcting the DNA deficits, but sometimes this mechanism fails to act and that becomes the cause of certain diseases including cancer.
Cancers are in most part are the result of genetic abnormalities, but not all abnormalities are the result of hereditary defects.
– In many cases the defects are the family traits.
– In many cases defects are the result of faulty lifestyle.
– In many cases, malignancy does not occur despite the DNA abnormalities at birth.
– Even if there are DNA defects at birth, they do not turn into cancer unless they are triggered off by such factors as excessive exposure to radiation or toxins.
So far as prostate cancer is concerned, the medical scientists have taken rather long to conclude that this particular type of cancer does run in the families. Most of these researches were based on the technique called ‘case control method’. This technique works in this manner:
– First it identifies men with prostate cancer
– Then a survey is taken on their families; it helps to find out how many relatives have the disease.
– Parallelly the investigations are carried on the families of men of same age, without prostate cancer.
– Now a comparison is made between the families of the patients of prostate cancer and the healthy men to arrive at a risk ratio.
– Most of the researches on the hereditary link of prostate cancer, are more or less in agreement that a family history of prostate cancer would double a man’s risk of developing the disease.
– Many of the researches however differ with regard to the degree of risk. But it has been commonly found out that: the risk is greater when close relatives have the disease. Risks also increase for those whose multiple relatives have been affected with prostate cancer, and also when the disease has been diagnosed at an early age.
Though discovered late, these findings have important socio-medical implications. Now the researchers are trying to find out the exact defects that lead to prostate cancer in some men and it will be a significant leap in the medical history as this finding will be able to warn the men whether they have greater risk of developing prostate cancer. Men with greater hereditary risks may be advised to undergo prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening 5-10 years earlier than at the usual age of 50. At the same time they will be asked to incorporate certain preventive measures in their lifestyle so that the cancer cells are not able to continue with their injuring tasks.