Health Watch - Father's Day: Family History

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.


It’s almost Father’s Day, so this week on Health Watch, we’ll talk about health issues that could affect the men in our lives. When you’re gathering for Father’s Day, you should spend some time talking about your family medical history.

About one in six men will develop prostate cancer at some point in their lives, and a family history of the disease is one of the most important risk factors. Dr. Yair Lotan, a urologist at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says one close family member with prostate cancer doubles the risk, while having two or three close relatives, like a father or a brother, who’ve had cancer can increase the risk up to 11 times. The cure rate for prostate cancer is high if it’s detected early, so men with a family history need to be especially diligent about screenings. Men should begin annual physical exams and prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, tests at age 40. Even though it may be embarrassing, men should talk to their relatives about any history with the disease so family members will be aware of their risk.

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June 2011

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