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Prostate Cancer Awareness Month: Understanding Your Family History

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, a time when families and health care professionals can work together to highlight the importance of prostate health education and research advocacy. In honor of the national campaign, Austin CyberKnife is working to highlight important risk factors for prostate cancer.

The American Cancer Society estimates 1 man in 7 will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year, making the need to understand risk factors and treatment options imperative to making the best decision for you or your family member.

One risk factor that can have an impact on a potential diagnosis is family history. According to the National Cancer Institute, 5 to 10 percent of prostate cancer cases are believed to be primarily caused by high-risk inherited genetic factors or prostate cancer susceptibility genes.

When examining your family history, the presence of the disease in immediate family is an important risk factor. For example, a man whose brother or father is affected is one and a half to three times more likely to develop the disease than a man with no family history of the disease. In addition, those with multiple relatives diagnosed or diagnosed at an early age may be more at risk.

Patients with a family history of prostate cancer should consult with their physician on the timing of PSA screening as you may choose to undergo screening 5–10 years earlier than at the usual recommended age of 50.

This is not intended as medical advice to replace the expertise and judgment of your health care team. It is intended to help you and your family make informed decisions, together with your doctor.