Men with family history of prostate cancer accurately predict higher risk, UMHS study finds

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- When a man is diagnosed with prostate cancer, his brothers are twice as likely to develop the disease as well, often at an earlier age.

New research finds these brothers are aware of their increased risk and many have taken vitamins or supplements to improve their health. The research is reported in two papers from the University of Michigan Health System.

Men participating in the research study said they felt they had a 50 percent chance of developing prostate cancer within their lifetime, and more than half of the 111 men surveyed said they were at least somewhat concerned about developing the disease. Lifetime risk for men with one first-degree relative with prostate cancer is about 56 percent, suggesting that the men surveyed were accurately assessing their risk. Results of the study will be published in the April 1 issue of Cancer.

In a related study, researchers asked the same group of men about their use of complementary and alternative medicine. More than half said they were currently taking at least one vitamin or supplement and 30 percent were using a type of complementary medicine linked to prostate health or prostate cancer prevention. Results of that study were published in the February issue of Urology.

"These findings suggest our educational programs are working," says study author David Wood, M.D., professor of urology at U-M Medical School. "The information is out there and these people understand they're at risk."

Researchers contacted 111 men whose brothers were diagnosed with prostate cancer. The men were selected from U-M's Prostate Cancer Genetics Project, a large family-based study of inherited forms of prostate cancer led by Kathleen Cooney, M.D., associate professor of internal medicine and urology at U-M Medical School and senior author on these studies. Participants completed a computer-assisted telephone survey about risk perception, screening behavior and use of complementary

Contact: Nicole Fawcett
University of Michigan Health System

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