Why Does DNA Matter When It Comes To Prostate Cancer?
It’s a familiar first liner when you enter a doctor’s office for the first time. Tell me about yourself and your family history. You are greeted with a clipboard and five sheets of paper to fill out requesting everything you can remember about your past and your present.
They want to know if your mother or father had cancer or any childhood diseases? What about your grandparents and siblings? As you know if they did have any, this causes your probability to increase dramatically. I have spoken to several people who have no family history of cancer, but they got it anyway.
Does DNA play a role in developing prostate cancer?
Most of us don't think about questioning our DNA. My friend developed prostate cancer and was puzzled as he left the doctor's office that day. He told me he had six uncles who never develop prostate cancer, nor did his father. Up until now, he was healthy as a horse. He had just turned 44 and hadn't been sick a day in his life.
He went to tell his parents and wife about his diagnosis. They had two sons of their own. As he sits down to have this conversation with his parents; the look of horror crossed their faces as he tells them the news. They knew they could no longer hide this secret. He was adopted as a baby, but they never found the right time to tell him. The sad part of this story was that his biological father had died from prostate cancer a few years ago.
The truth would have allowed my friend to get tested sooner
I will never forget that he told me he needed clarity. It didn't make sense to him. Things started happening to his body that he couldn't understand. Just wasn't feeling like himself; thought his bladder was going bad. At some point, he couldn't take it and made an appointment with a specialist. He had stage three cancer.
He made up his mind at that moment not to be mad at his parents; they thought they were doing what was best for him. However, if he had known the truth he would have got tested much earlier and started treatment sooner.
Know your bloodline and family diseases
Is it okay to withhold medical information concerning a biological parent if you know their history? I know there are plenty of situations where you never know the parents. At a certain point, my friend had a right to know his medical history especially since they knew about his father.
The bloodline can reveal so much in all of us. This has made him feel that there were no known diseases in his family. However, this was not true? I think because when we grow up, people get married, have children. He is now in stage three prostate cancer. The good news is that the doctors are optimistic that he will only need a few rounds of radiation and he should be fine.
Are we protecting that child as they turn into adults or hurting them? I am a firm believer in what you don't know can hurt you. Know your bloodline and the medical history of your biological mother and father. We know many diseases are passed through our family genes.
Early detection is crucial
The takeaway for me sharing this story is...everyone will not be honest with you. We know there are deep family secrets. It's only the DNA that will speak the truth. Even when there is no trace of cancer on either side of your family. If you have symptoms or no symptoms at all; still get checked.
Early detection is important; go get checked today. It's better to be safe than sorry. Because just like my friend, the truth about who you are may have been withheld. Get checked now; what are you waiting on?
Have you made personal connections through your journey with prostate cancer?