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Your Healthy Family: Many fathers keep health info to themselves - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Your Healthy Family: Many fathers keep health info to themselves

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Having a father with prostate cancer doubles a man?s risk of getting it Having a father with prostate cancer doubles a man?s risk of getting it
COLORADO SPRINGS -

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

Having a father with prostate cancer doubles a man's risk of getting it, yet a recent Cleveland Clinic survey shows many fathers and sons don't share important health information with one another.

Jim Smith, a 62-year-old surgeon from Ohio, was recently diagnosed with a small spot of cancer on his prostate and found himself on the other side of the operating table.

“I went back to see Dr. Klein and he said, you know Jim, I think you need to switch from the observation group to the treatment group based on the fact that our pathologists here think it’s a little more aggressive,” Smith said.

Smith had his prostate removed and wasted little time telling his two grown sons, but the survey shows that's not typical of many families. Results indicate that men rarely talk about their health history with other men in the family.

“We know there are multiple genes that are inherited from your parents that increase your risk of getting prostate cancer and we have ways of measuring them now,” said Eric Klein, M.D., of Cleveland Clinic. “So, knowing your family history is important because we can determine if you're at higher risk.”

One of those measurement tools is advanced DNA testing that can now identify gene mutations that increase a man's risk of getting prostate cancer.

“Our ability to sequence DNA has gotten so good that there is germ-line genetic screening available now to men with a positive family history to help determine what their genetic risk is,” said Dr. Klein.

Mike Smith, Jim's son is training to be a doctor like his dad and he feels prepared in case he follows in his father's footsteps health-wise as well.

“I think knowing this experience and knowing what happened to him will help me be able to make decisions for myself,” said Mike Smith.

Survey results also show more than 60 percent of men polled wish their father had talked to them more about health concerns.

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