Prostate Cancer - Know Your Family History

Each year in Australia 20,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer.

All of us know someone who has been affected, and yet many of us don’t know what the prostate does, or what prostate cancer is, limiting our understanding of how to detect and treat it.

It’s vital to know your risks and your family history. It could help to save your life.

Your Family History – The Facts

  • If your father or brother have ever been diagnosed with prostate cancer, you have twice the average risk of developing the disease.
  • If you have two or more close male relatives who have been diagnosed, your lifetime risk of developing prostate cancer increases five-fold.
  • Your risk also increases if you have a strong family history of breast or ovarian cancer, especially if a BRCA1 or 2 gene mutation was involved.

Other Risk Factors – Things You Need to Know

  • Your risk of prostate cancer increases as you get older.
  • Prostate cancer is unique among cancers – we have not yet found a way of preventing it, and we do not know what causes it.
  • Scientists have not yet found any strong links between diet and lifestyle and prostate cancer.

Be Aware – Know the Symptoms

  • When prostate cancer first develops, there may be no symptoms.
  • In later stages, symptoms might include frequent urination, difficulty or pain when peeing, blood in the urine or semen, unexplained weight loss, and body aches.
  • It’s important to remember these symptoms could be caused by a range of factors, and do not always mean you have prostate cancer.
  • If you develop any of the symptoms above, see your doctor straight away.

Take the Right Action at the Right Time

  • The current Australian Guidelines recommend all men discuss their individual risks and detection options with a doctor – check out our PSA Test Guide for more information.
  • If you have no family history and no symptoms and decide to get a PSA test, you should do so every two years between the ages of 50 to 69.
  • If you have a family history and decide to get a PSA test, you should do so every two years from age 40/45 to 69, starting sooner if you have a strong family history.
  • If you are 70 or older with no previous diagnosis of cancer, PSA tests are not recommended because you are unlikely to die from prostate cancer if it develops.
  • If you develop any of the symptoms of prostate cancer, see your doctor straight away.

Click here to download our fact sheet.

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