Prostate cancer is the most common male cancer globally, with the lifetime risk for men in South Africa being 1 in 19.
As with many other cancer types, the development of prostate cancer is driven by both controllable and uncontrollable risk factors. Controllable risk factors can include a person’s diet and lifestyle behaviors such as exercise, smoking and alcohol consumption. Uncontrollable risk factors include age, race, family history and hereditary risk mutations.
Men with mutations in their BRCA1, BRCA2 and other breast cancer risk genes have an increased risk for developing breast cancer and an aggressive form of prostate cancer. It is suggested that hereditary genetic mutations in these genes account for between 5 – 10% of prostate cancer cases. Black men are 1.7 times more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer, highlighting the importance of prostate cancer awareness in South Africa.
Genetic tests can be used to assess and individuals’ risk for developing prostate cancer, these tests do not indicate that the person has cancer or will get cancer, rather if the person is at a higher risk compared to the rest of the population. It is therefore suggested that men who have BRCA mutations, should have their prostate screened at an earlier age. The number of men being diagnosed with late stage cancer is climbing, indicating the importance of regular checkups and screenings to promote earlier detection.
The Optiphi Helix DNA tests retail for R4,000,00 and are available through the Optiphi website.