A family history means that you have someone in your family who has had cancer. If you have a father or brother diagnosed with prostate cancer you are 2 to 3 times more likely to get prostate cancer yourself, compared to the average man. The age that your relative is diagnosed with prostate cancer may also be a factor. If they were diagnosed before the age of 60, this increases your risk by slightly more than if they were diagnosed after the age of 60. If you have more than one first degree relative diagnosed with prostate cancer (at any age) your risk is about 4 times that of the general population.
If your relative was young when they were diagnosed, or if you have several relatives with prostate cancer, these could be signs that there is a faulty gene running in the family. The younger the age at diagnosis, the more likely it is that an inherited faulty gene is the cause. Remember that for there to be a faulty gene at work, the affected relatives have to come from the same side of your family (your mother's side or your father's side).
Men who have relatives with breast cancer may also have a higher risk of prostate cancer, particularly if the family members were diagnosed under the age of 60. This increased risk is mostly caused by an inherited faulty gene called BRCA2. Men who have a fault (mutation) in the BRCA2 gene can have a risk of prostate cancer that is 5 times higher than men in the general population. The risk can be 7 times higher in men under the age of 65.
Faults in a gene called BRCA1 may increase the risk of developing prostate cancer in men under the age of 65 by a small amount. But in men older than 65 who have a faulty BRCA1 gene there doesn’t appear to be an increased risk.
Statistics available are always a generalisation. For most men there will be specific factors which will increase their risk of Prostate Cancer.
Does ethnicity increase my risk of Prostate Cancer?
Prostate cancer is more common in black Caribbean and black African men than in white or Asian men. Black African and black Caribbean men are 2 or 3 times more likely to develop prostate cancer than white men. Asian men have a lower risk than white men.
Prostate Screening can offer diagnosis and reassurance if you have been suffering from prostate related symptoms.