Nearly 12 percent of men with advanced prostate cancer carry inherited genes that increase their risk for faster-growing forms of the disease that are more likely to spread. Knowing whether you carry one of these genes may help your doctors precisely tailor your prostate cancer treatment.
The Prostate Cancer Genetics Clinic at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) is here to help. Our experts offer consultations and genetic testing to determine whether you have an inherited cancer risk gene that could guide treatment decisions.
Visit the Prostate Cancer Genetics Clinic
Genetic testing usually involves a simple blood draw or saliva test. If you have prostate cancer, here’s how you can learn more:
- Already an SCCA patient? Talk with your SCCA doctor about how genetics may affect your treatment.
- Not an SCCA patient? Call (855) 557-0555 to get a second opinion about your diagnosis and genetic risk at the Prostate Cancer Genetics Clinic.
GENTleMEN study offers free genetic testing
Men in Washington state with metastatic prostate cancer can receive free genetic testing and counseling through the web by enrolling in the GENTleMEN (GENetic Testing for MEN) study. Led by Dr. Heather Cheng, director of the Prostate Cancer Genetics Clinic, the study seeks to remove barriers and improve access to genetic testing and counseling, which aren’t available everywhere or always covered by insurance.
- If you have metastatic prostate cancer, you can enroll in the study by completing an online questionnaire that takes about 40 minutes.
- Once your metastatic prostate cancer diagnosis is confirmed, you will receive a Color Genomics saliva-sampling kit and instructions through the mail.
- DNA from your saliva samples will be tested for 30 cancer-associated mutations after you return the kit.
- Results will be sent to you and, if you choose, your doctor.
- If you test positive, you will have access to genetic counseling by phone or face-to-face at SCCA.
Learn more and request a test kit at the GENTleMen study website at gentlemenstudy.org, or call (877) 606-GENT (4368) toll-free.
Research in prostate cancer genetics
Prostate cancers can range from less aggressive (slower growing and less likely to spread, or metastasize) to more aggressive (faster growing and more likely to metastasize). One of the challenges for doctors in designing treatment is that it’s hard to predict how aggressive a particular man’s cancer will be.
Research led by scientists from the University of Washington, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and SCCA is unlocking new clues.
Our work on an international collaborative research project shows that men with prostate cancer who have inherited mutations in genes such as BRCA2 that are critical to DNA repair are at higher risk of developing more aggressive forms of prostate cancer and metastases. More than 1 in 10 men with metastatic prostate cancer have these mutations, according to results published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2016. These men often, but not always, have a family history of prostate, breast, ovarian, pancreatic and other cancers.
With genetic testing, our prostate cancer doctors can better determine who might benefit from particular drugs, like those that work best against tumors with DNA-repair mutations.
What your results mean for your family
Along with improving your prostate cancer treatment, your genetic test results may have important implications for family members. If testing shows you have a mutation associated with increased cancer risk, your blood relatives might be at increased risk too and benefit from personalized screening and prevention strategies. The Prostate Cancer Genetics Clinic can help refer your family members for genetic counseling and testing, if appropriate.