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Causes of Prostate Cancer in young people

Stoked1
Posts: 6
Joined: Jan 2019

So bit of background, diagnosed at 46, however abnormal PSA from first test at 44. G9 (5+4). Treated successfully with surgery alone.

I now wonder what could possibly have contributed to my cancer? No family history, extremely fit, was a world ranked long distance runner until 38yo, and was a high level cyclist at time of diagnosis. I felt invincible to chronic illness and got a real shock. I know sometimes stuff just happens and it could be unique to my gene combination from my parents etc, but the one thing that I would fault about my lifestyle was my diet. I had a very high sugar diet. When training twice a day and much of it at high intensity, I felt that I needed sugar for energy and recovery.

Just out of curiosity did anyone else, especially men with young age or high grade also have a high sugar diet for a long period of time before diagnosis?

Max Former Hodgkins Stage 3's picture
Max Former Hodg...
Posts: 3116
Joined: May 2012

Stoked,

Remarkably, you are not the first long-distance or performance cyclist to use this Board.  Congratulations on your cure from the disease at a quite young age.  Often, cases of early PCa tend toward greater aggression than when the disease in caught in older men.  The average age of detection in the US is currently 68 years of age. 

Of the many hundreds of common cancers, only a handful have known causality, and even then, the cause may be contributory rather than primary.  Heavy smoking for decades prior to lung cancer, for instance.  Almost all doctors would say that the smoking contributed to emergence of the cancer, but other, even heavier smokers, go 70 years with the habit and never get cancers.

Prostate cancer occures at about the same rates among vegans as it does among fatties and bacon addicts. The cause is not known. Family history can skew the probability, but doctors do not know why.   Women with the BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 genes (the so-called "Angelina Jolee" breast cancer gene) have a close to 90% chance of getting aggressive BCa (87%, to be exact).  Yet, most women who contract BCa do NOT test positive for either of those genes. So, best to not have the gene, but not having it guarantees nothing.

Recent major studies in oncolgy have suggested that perhaps 50% or more of cancers are due to random mutations occuring during cell division; these have no known genetic or environmental catalysts.

Georges Calvez
Posts: 171
Joined: Sep 2018

Hi there,

There does not seeem to be a link to diet or any external factor with prostate cancer.
There is a weak genetic link, if you have male relatives with it then you have a greater chance but like breast cancer but it is not absolute, men of African descent have a slightly greater chance than Europeans. There is no link to tobacco or alcohol use or anything much. Medical researchers have spent a lot of time looking at hormone levels with testosterone being a particular target.
When I worked in research coming up with ideas that someone would give us money for was an endless pastime.
Since doctors discovered the links between tobacco, asbestos, etc and lung cancer and certain dye intermediates and bladder cancer a huge amount of work has been done and in most cases the primary cause seems to be just random mutations.
I disagree with Max that young men have a greater chance of getting an aggressive type, men accumulate weak or precancer growths in the prostate from about 30% at age 40 to around 70% at age 70, almost all old men will have prostate abnormalities. Young men have less of the benign types so the aggressive ones stand out.
Older men with aggressive types seem to be more likely to suffer early metastase than younger men so it may be that the more active immune system stops the wandering cells from catching hold or it forces them into dormancy. Some younger men will be cured but then the cancer will reappear five, ten or in some cases more years later and I suspect that it has been held in check and as the immune system weakens with age it starts to grow again.
There is a lot that is known, there is a raft of informed speculation and suspected truths, then there is a large part that is still mysterious.
Maybe in five or ten years instead of looking at PSA levels, Gleason scores, etc we will be able to genetically type each new prostate cancer and fit them into groups; ones that can be left or treated lightly becuse they are never going anywhere, others that need careful watching and others that need aggressive attack, hopefully with newer tools.

Best wishes,

Georges

Stoked1
Posts: 6
Joined: Jan 2019

Thanks for the reply guys. It's just hard to reconcile that I didn't contribute to it in some way. My sugar consumption was extreme to say the least. There are some random studies out there that do implicate sugar as increasing incidence but I don't think these studies would have included anybody consuming sugar to my extent, and there are very few studies on younger men or high Gleason's because we're just not that common, hence I thought perhaps may be worthwhile to see if anecdotally there have been any other major sweet tooth's out there with a similar story. 

SantaZia
Posts: 69
Joined: Apr 2018

I have wondered too about long distance running and free radicals and the increase risk of cancer too.  It appears there really hasn't been any long term studies on this. Of course, sugar is one of those urban legends that also has not been linked to prostate cancer.  Although, it seems that red meat and dairy products has been linked.  Although I don't have the study to share, the AMC lists it as a potential risk factor on their website, https://www.cancer.org/cancer/prostate-cancer/causes-risks-prevention/risk-factors.html . One thing that research is finding is that if you have advanced cancer a broad secturum gentic test might help identify the best treatment.  It is sometimes difficult to determine what family history folks had regarding prostate cancer as a relative may die before the PC symptioms show up.  According to some reserach "the interplay of genetic, environmental, and social influences (such as access to health care), which may affect the development and progression of the disease. Differences in screening practices have also had a substantial influence on prostate cancer incidence, by permitting prostate cancer to be diagnosed in some patients before symptoms develop or before abnormalities on physical examination are detectable. An analysis of population-based data from Sweden suggested that a diagnosis of prostate cancer in one brother leads to an early diagnosis in a second brother using prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening.[7] This may account for an increase in prostate cancer diagnosed in younger men that was evident in nationwide incidence data. A genetic contribution to prostate cancer risk has been documented, and there is increasing knowledge of the molecular genetics of the disease, although much of what is known is not yet clinically actionable. Malignant transformation of prostate epithelial cells and progression of prostate carcinoma are likely to result from a complex series of initiation and promotional events under both genetic and environmental influences.[8] " See article:  https://www.cancer.gov/types/prostate/hp/prostate-genetics-pdq Recently, I read in an MIT technology document that only 17% of men with advance prostate cancer have received a genetic test which would identify their genetic variants.  This would be interesting to know even if you aren't in need of finding the specific target drug or iimmunotherapy to attack the cancer. Good questions!

Stoked1
Posts: 6
Joined: Jan 2019

I've looked into the free radical theory of aging many times. In fact I've lectured on the topic at University. There are studies on endurance athletes such as ex Tour de France riders that show they have longer lifespans and lower incidence of cancer. Endurance exercise has also been proven to lengthen telomeres, which protects our DNA during cell division and longer telomeres are believed to be the key to anti aging. There's plenty on the subject that can be found by doing simple Google searches https://www.google.com.au/amp/s/www.inverse.com/amp/article/51255-anti-aging-workouts-telomeres

SantaZia
Posts: 69
Joined: Apr 2018

Stoked as a long distance runner and researcher I agree completely with you, although  here is what the authors' call "the most comprehensive review ever conducted on physiology and pathophysiology in ultra-marathon. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphys.2018.00634/full  It also provides information on the marathon. However, my point in my prior posting was that folks with more advanced cancer even if cured may want to have genetic broad spectrum testing as it may benefit their offspring. "A genetic contribution to prostate cancer risk has been documented, and there is increasing knowledge of the molecular genetics of the disease, although much of what is known is not yet clinically actionable- only 17% of men with advance prostate cancer have received a genetic test which would identify their genetic variants."

 

Stoked1
Posts: 6
Joined: Jan 2019

Great link. Thanks. I have considered genetic testing as well since I have 3 children. Thanks for the reply 

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