risk for a family history of prostate cancer

Empowering men to understand their risk for a family history of prostate cancer

When it comes to prostate cancer, family history plays a crucial role. Research suggests that a man’s likelihood of being diagnosed with prostate cancer is doubled if he has a close relative, such as a father or brother, who has previously had the disease. This increased risk also extends to men with female relatives who have had breast cancer.

Having a family history of prostate cancer, particularly aggressive forms, along with a history of breast cancer or other malignancies, can elevate your risk of developing prostate cancer. Men need to be aware of their family medical history, including the types of cancer and the ages at which diagnoses were made. Discussing this information with your primary care physician is valuable for determining whether genetic counseling and testing are appropriate and for establishing a personalized cancer screening plan.

Studies on Familial Prostate Cancer Risk

A 2016 Swedish study shed light on the lifetime risk of prostate cancer for men with a family history of the disease. Researchers reviewed medical records of over fifty-two thousand men who had brothers or fathers who had prostate cancer and found:

  • Men with a brother who had prostate cancer had double the risk of being diagnosed compared to the general population. They faced a 30% chance of being diagnosed before age 75, compared to about 13% for men without a family history.
  • Men with both a brother and a father with prostate cancer had approximately three times the risk, with a 48% chance of diagnosis compared to 13% among those without a family history.
  • These men also had a 14% chance of developing an aggressive form of the disease by age 75, compared to about 5% among other men.

The risk increases further if a man younger than age fifty-five had received a prostate cancer diagnosis or if three or more family members had also been diagnosed with prostate cancer. 

Reducing Prostate Cancer Risk in Men with a Family History

While you can’t change your family history, men with a familial risk of prostate cancer can take steps to potentially reduce their risk and detect the disease early when it’s most treatable:

  • Prostate Cancer Screening: Men with a family history of prostate cancer should start with a baseline PSA screening at age 40. The frequency of subsequent screenings can be determined based on the doctor’s recommendation.
  • Healthy Diet: Avoid foods high in sodium, saturated fat, cholesterol, refined sugar, and trans fat. Rather, choose foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids (such as salmon and nuts), monounsaturated fats (like olive oil, peanuts, and avocados), and plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. This reduces prostate cancer risk, prevents weight gain, and improves overall health.
  • Physical Activity: The goal is to achieve ideally 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous weekly exercise. Activities can include walking, swimming, biking, jogging, or any exercise your doctor recommends.

Takeaway Message

A man cannot change his family history of prostate cancer, but understanding his genetic risk allows him to make informed decisions about his health. Advanced DNA tests can identify gene mutations that increase the risk of developing prostate cancer, enabling men to take proactive steps in monitoring and managing their health.

By staying informed and taking preventive measures, men can better navigate their risks and protect their long-term health.

Dr. David Samadi is the Director of Men’s Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Long Island. He’s a renowned and highly successful board certified Urologic Oncologist Expert and Robotic Surgeon in New York City, regarded as one of the leading prostate surgeons in the U.S., with a vast expertise in prostate cancer treatment and Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy.  Dr. Samadi is a medical contributor to NewsMax TV and is also the author of The Ultimate MANual, Dr. Samadi’s Guide to Men’s Health and Wellness, available online both on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Visit Dr. Samadi’s websites at robotic oncolo gy and prostate cancer 911. 

Dr. David Samadi | Robotic Prostate Surgeon


ProstateCancer911.com is a resource created by Dr. David Samadi in order to raise awareness and get more men to receive prostate cancer treatment. The information is strictly general and you should always discuss with your doctor issues concerning your health.


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