Cancer is a genetic disease, so prostate cancer is a genetic problem. This statement might be the most important one we can make when trying to describe the current, overall situation we face as prostate cancer survivors!
Many institutions have begun significant research studies trying to understand the actual genetic keys to prostate cancer. Prostate cancer risk, prostate cancer progression and prostate cancer treatments are all affected by genetics. What could be both the largest and longest running study of prostate cancer genetics has been going on in the United Kingdom (UK) since 1993. It involves 189 hospitals through out the UK and at this time, is scheduled to continue running to 2017.
The study has a simple aim: to find genetic changes, which are associated with prostate cancer risk. They hope to find alterations in genes that increase the chances of getting prostate cancer so that it would be possible, in the future, to screen family members to see if they are also at a higher than normal risk of developing prostate cancer. Also, they hope that they will be able to develop new treatments for both localized and advanced prostate cancer as well as be able to predict an individual’s disease progression.
In the UK prostate cancer is the commonest cancer in men with 1 in 10 men developing it in their lifetime. Despite how common it is its causes still remain very poorly understood with few confirmed risk factors. There is evidence that indicates that lifestyle and/or environmental factors such as diet could be important determinants of prostate cancer risk and progression. What we don’t know a lot about is which lifestyle factors might contribute to prostate cancer. More confusing is that the results in many of our current studies are often in conflict. Part of this study (UKGPCS) involves collaboration with Professor Kenneth Muir at the University of Manchester who is looking into which environmental factors might affect prostate cancer risk.
The study (UKGPCS) is also looking at genetic alterations, which occur in men who have prostate cancer. Since a man’s risk of developing prostate cancer increases if he has a first-degree relative (father or brother) with prostate cancer at a young age we can make the conclusion that there is some genetic links at play. So, the study is particularly interested in men who are diagnosed at a young age or who have a family history of prostate cancer, since it is more probable that these prostate cancers are due to an inherited genetic cause rather than an environmental cause.
This is a very important study that has as its ambitious recruitment goal of 26,000 men by 2017. If you would please consider participating check to see if you meet any of the following eligibility requirements:
- You must have been diagnosed with prostate cancer at 60 years of age or under (up to your 61st birthday).
- You have been diagnosed with prostate cancer and you have a first, second or third degree relative who was diagnosed with prostate cancer at 65 years of age or under.
- If you have prostate cancer and have 3 or more cases of prostate cancer on one side of your family.
- You are a prostate cancer patient at the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust.
To get additional information and to enroll contact:
UK Genetic Prostate Cancer Study
Institute of Cancer Research & Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust
Sir Richard Doll Building, 15, Cotswold Road
020 8722 4395
020 8722 4162
0208 722 4110