A nationwide study in Sweden estimates the elevated risk of advanced or fatal prostate cancer among relatives of men with the disease, providing new data that could help refine guidelines for the age at which screening should begin.
Clinical guidelines for the age to start prostate cancer screening aim to ensure that the benefits of identifying the disease early outweigh the risks of diagnosing and treating cancer that will not harm the patient. Current guidelines note that men with a family history of prostate cancer have a greater risk and should begin screening early. However, due to lack of sufficient data, the age at which early screening should begin has been unclear.
The researchers found that men with a family history of prostate cancer reached the screening risk threshold up to 12 years earlier. However, different men reached this threshold at different ages, depending on how many of their first-degree relatives had prostate cancer and the age at which the relatives were diagnosed.
By comparing their calculations with various guidelines, the researchers determined that men with a family history of prostate cancer reach a high enough risk to start
screening anywhere from 2 to 11 years earlier than currently recommended.