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In the general population, prostate cancer is common. Men have about a 14% risk for developing the disease by age 80.
Men with BRCA mutations have a 15-25% lifetime risk for prostate cancer, which is higher than average-risk men. In men with BRCA mutations, prostate cancers tend to occur at a younger age and may be more aggressive and life threatening than prostate cancer in men without mutations.
Other genes are believed to increase the risk for hereditary prostate cancer. Recent studies have found that about 10% of men with advanced (metastatic) prostate cancer have mutations in genes associated with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer including BRCA2, ATM, CHEK2, BRCA1, and others. For this reason, all men diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer at any age meet national guidelines for genetic counseling and/or testing.
Although some organizations recommend against routine prostate cancer screening in the general population, screening may be more beneficial for men with BRCA mutations because of their prostate cancer risk. The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) recommends a PSA blood test and baseline digital rectal exam for all men with BRCA mutations, starting at age 45.
If you have already been diagnosed with prostate cancer, speak with your doctor about tests that can determine if your prostate cancer is an aggressive form that may require additional treatment.
If prostate cancer runs in your family, it is important to consult with a genetics specialist to determine your risk and management options.