family history prostate cancer

You may know that men with a family history of prostate cancer have an increased risk of developing cancer themselves and are encouraged to commence PSA screening earlier than other men in the population. However, the question remains – if these men do develop prostate cancer – are their outcomes different to the rest of the population?

Utilising the SA-PCCOC database, research has been underway examining survival outcomes in men who have a family history of prostate cancer and comparing this to other men. Part of this research is Associate Professor Martin Borg who is connected directly to patients as a Radiation Oncologist, senior partner at the Adelaide Radiotherapy Centre and Chair of the SA-PCCOC Research Committee.

With his involvement with patients, A/Prof Borg decided the family history and its link to outcomes of prostate cancer was an in need of further research to ensure men had the best chance of survival.  The research is currently being carried out with Dr Mann Ang and Dr Michael O’Callaghan using the SA-PCCOC database.

“Surprisingly, through this research so far, we found that men with a family history of prostate cancer were actually doing better than the average man living with prostate cancer. We believe this is because they start screening earlier, so their cancer is caught at an earlier stage,” A/Prof Borg explained.

Generally, A/Prof Borg recommends a man whose father had prostate cancer start screening five years before the age their father was diagnosed.

“While you often have to screen a lot of men to be able to save one life, this and other research has shown that it is indeed beneficial for these men with a family history to be screened earlier. We’re still finalising this project but at this stage we’ll be able to confidently say to men with a family history, come in and get checked earlier, and your outcome will be better than average.”

A/Prof Borg says this research was only possible thanks to the strong data available in the SA-PCCOC database and is very proud to be associated with what has been labelled as a ‘national treasure.’

“It’s incredibly important in our field to have access to this level of information. It helps us understand more about this complex disease to do all we can to help men have the best chance of survival.”