Women with one of the two genetic abnormalities associated with breast cancer, BRCA1 or BRCA2, have up to an 85% risk of developing breast cancer by age 70. BRCA1 and BRCA2 abnormalities are found in 5% to 10% of all breast cancer cases in the United States. BRCA1 and BRCA2 abnormalities also have been associated with ovarian cancer.
A study shows that a type of BRCA2 abnormality in men is associated with an aggressive form of prostate cancer. Men with this particular gene abnormality were more likely to be diagnosed with aggressive prostate cancer and diagnosed at an earlier age than men without this BRCA2 abnormality. These men also were more likely to die from the cancer.
If you're a woman with a BRCA2 abnormality or have blood relatives with a BRCA2 abnormality, this study could be important for you. Your sons or other male relatives also could have a BRCA2 abnormality. It might make sense for them to talk to a doctor about being tested for a BRCA2 abnormality. Men who have the specific BRCA2 abnormality may want to consider a more aggressive approach to prostate cancer screening, including starting screening at an earlier age and more frequent screening than what is traditionally recommended.
This article was made possible by an educational grant from GlaxoSmithKline.