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Genetic Testing for Prostate Cancer

A diagnosis of prostate cancer immediately leaves patients and families asking many questions.  Today, we are fortunate to have genetic testing available that can help us more accurately answer some of these tough questions:

  • How aggressive is my cancer?
  • How should I treat my cancer?
  • Will the cancer come back after I’ve treated it?
  • Are my children or grandchildren at higher risk for cancer?

At Urology Associates we offer two types of genetic testing for prostate cancer patients.

The first is testing the biopsy of the cancerous prostate tumor. With this test, we can look at the tumor’s genetic make-up and determine how quickly the cancer is growing. We also offer genetic testing that is performed by testing the blood to determine if you have any DNA that makes you more susceptible to cancer or if your family members may be at a higher risk to develop cancer.

Biopsy Testing

Urology Associates uses Prolaris genetic testing consistently for patients with prostate cancer. The Prolaris test shows us how aggressive the cancer is and helps us determine whether patients need active surveillance, radiation or surgery and helps us develop an individual and customized treatment plan for each prostate cancer patient to give them the optimal outcome.

Prolaris biopsy testing looks specifically for a genomic bio marker or genetic mutations and allows us to better understand the tumor’s behavior. It looks specifically at the genes at a cellular level to determine the prostate cancer’s true behavior. The results are, in fact, two times more accurate in determining the prognosis than both the PSA and Gleason scores combined. Knowing and understanding the tumor at the cellular level is important  because we know that individuals who have genetic mutations have prostate cancer that progresses faster.

Our standard process is that a prostate cancer patient who undergoes a biopsy, will automatically have the Prolaris genetic test if their biopsy has a Gleason score of 6 or 7.  The test is automatically sent off to the lab at the time of the biopsy and the results will be available at your next consult and will be used to your doctor determine the best course of treatment for your cancer.

Cost: The cost for this advanced genetic testing is minimal. In fact it is covered for Medicare patients and for those on commercial insurance the average cost is $50 or less.

DNA testing

DNA cancer testing, similar to BRCA testing for breast cancer, is also available for prostate cancer. It helps us better understand the hereditary risk for relatives as well as the systemic cause of prostate cancer.  Genetic DNA testing is performed with a simple blood test. It looks specifically at the genes to see if there are any genetic mutations that would make one more prone to cancer. The results can also be helpful in determining if the cancer will be less or more aggressive. It is also valuable in planning the course of treatment, as individuals with a specific genetic mutation can be more effectively treated with medicines or therapeutics that designed to be effective for patients who have that specific genetic mutation.

If a patient has advanced metastatic cancer or a family history of cancer, it is indicated that DNA testing would be beneficial. Knowledge is power and understanding if you are genetically predisposed to cancer is helpful for survellience and early detection in other family members and it also often opens up insurance companies to pay for more extensive testing to family members.

Cost: If your doctor recommends this testing it is most often covered and there is little to no cost to you.

Ask your doctor if genetic testing would be beneficial for you!