Genetic detective

// Health | Genetic detective
Email to a friend Plain text Print version // Font size: Decrease font Enlarge font
13 March 2011 Last updated at 20:09 ET

When Laurie Whelan's brother "bullied" him into going for a prostate cancer check, the retired scientist was unconvinced.

Despite both his brothers having been diagnosed with the cancer, he had no obvious symptoms and did not believe it could happen to him.

Even his GP was sceptical, telling him the condition did not run in families.

But, as Laurie was to learn for himself, we now know that's not the case.

What is more, Laurie, and his three sons are helping to track down the genetic flaws that give some men a higher chance of developing the disease.

They are taking part in a new study to investigate whether we have enough knowledge of the genetics of prostate cancer to screen men with a strong family history.

Laurie's son Tim, aged 49 and from London, says: "There aren't that many people with such a strong family history

Continue reading the main story

Start Quote

This study will show us whether we have enough knowledge about prostate cancer genetics to help find men at higher risk of the disease, and whether we should therefore start screening these men”

End Quote Prof Ros Eeles The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust

"It's one of those diseases that because it's a bit embarrassing, no-one knows about it. When my dad asked me to join the study I was happy to help."

Prostate cancer - the most common cancer in men - has cast a shadow over two generations of the Whelan family.

Both of Laurie's brothers were diagnosed with the condition in their fifties. They later died from unrelated conditions.

It was Laurie's younger brother, who was diagnosed in 1997, who persuaded Laurie to see his GP.

"My brother told me it was likely to be genetic and to get tested. He bullied me - so I finally got the test and I did have it."

The cancer was already fairly advanced, and surgery was not an option. So he was given hormone therapy in a bid to shrink the tumour, followed by radiotherapy.

Laurie is now 82, and in good health.

When he was invited to take part in the study, he had no hesitation.

"I'm very pleased to take part in it," says Laurie, who lives in London. "It is a good thing to help further the cause.

"Also I am being monitored more closely than I otherwise would."

Like other participants in the study, he has had his DNA tested for the 31 known genetic variants linked to a higher risk of prostate cancer.

Having one of these genes gives only a tiny added risk, but when combined they can add up to higher risks.

Professor Ros Eeles from the Institute of Cancer Research is leading the study, known as PROFILE.

She says: "This study will show us whether we have enough knowledge about prostate cancer genetics to help find men at higher risk of the disease, and whether we should therefore start screening these men.

"Screening men at higher risk could potentially lead to earlier diagnoses, which would improve their chances of a cure."

Men taking part in the study give a blood sample, from which DNA is extracted.

Scientists then screen for genes known to raise the risk of prostate cancer.

Men with a higher risk are offered a biopsy to check for cancer. They also have a blood test to look at levels of prostate specific antigen - PSA.

The aim is to see whether genetic profiling can help give a better picture of men at high risk of prostate cancer, when combined with the current screening method of a PSA test and sometimes a biopsy.

The PROFILE study is open in London, and will eventually be extended to Oxford and Cambridge. Men aged between 40 and 69 with a family history of prostate cancer are invited to apply. More information is available on the Everyman Male Cancer Campaign website.

Tagged : No tags for this article

Headlines Newsview all

Bomb Explosion In Kaduna Leaves Many Dead!

An explosion has occurred in central Kaduna killing at least 10 people, a witness has said. The blast occurred Wednesday afternoon along Isa Kaita road which ...

Nollywood Actress Bukky Wright’s Second Marriage Crashes

It appears that the second marriage of popular Nollywood actress, Bukky Wright with her husband, Adewale Onitiri, has crashed. Reports say the couple almost ended the ...

Boko Haram Beheads Nigerian Air Force Officer - Very Disturbing Video Video

A disturbing video which showed a Nigerian Naval officer identified as Umar Abubakar being interrogated and later gruesomely murdered by Boko Haram men in Borno ... Full story

Popular Nigerian Pastor Chris Okotie Shows Off N400m fleet of cars

No doubt, the ageless multi award winning pop Musician, Chris Okotie; now known as Rev. Chris Okotie is a very wealthy man; who loves seeing ... Full story

Charles Okonkwo Jr., Nigerian in New York arrested after killing brother, beating respected doctor mother into a coma

Charles Okonkwo Jr., a Long Island, New York, teenager with a history of psychiatric problems killed his 15-year old brother and brutally beat his mother ... Full story

Parents Of Abducted Chibok Girls Arrive At Presidential Villa

Parents of the school girls that were abducted from Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok , Borno State on April 14, by the dreaded terrorist group, ... Full story

Sulaiman Abdulkarim Isah, Nigerian Man Wins Dubai International Holy Quran Award

A Nigerian man, Sulaiman Abdulkarim Isah has been announced winner of the 18th session of the Dubai International Holy Quran Award which was concluded on ... Full story

Rilwanu Lukman, Former Minister Of Petroleum Dead At 76

Former Minister of Petroleum, Dr. Rilwanu Lukman, is dead. He died this morning in Austria at the age of 76. Lukman, who was born in Zaria, ...

Samuel Kayode, Nigerian Pastor In UK Commits The Biggest Education Fraud In UK History

An accountant at a chain of academies championed by Michael Gove is at the centre of a fraud investigation after £4million of school funds ended ... Full story

Oby Ezekwesili Harassed By Security Operatives At Abuja Airport

Operatives of the Department of State Security this morning seized the international passport of the Coordinator of the BringBackOurGirls group and former Minister of Education, ...

Armed robbers attack Sambo’s wife aide, killing two

Armed robbers on Sunday took over the Kaduna-Abuja Express way unleashing terrors on motorists/passengers, leading to death of two persons. Also, a health practitioner in Kaduna, ...

Comment on: Genetic detective

Rate this article

0

Breaking News

Gen. Buhari Escape Assassination Attempt in Kaduna Bomb Blast | Photos

Almost 2 hours after the first bombing which killed at least 45, a second explosion ripped through the crowd targeting the convoy of General Buhari. ...

Security Man Commits Suicide In Akute

A security man attached to a popular eatery in Alagbole, Akute area of Ogun State shocked the neighbourhood this morning when he reportedly took his ...

Iyabo Ojo ‘Abandons’ Movie Set For Graduation Party

Nollywood actress, Iyabo Ojo, who has been very busy on a movie set, took some time off to show affection for her cousin and nephew ...

I’m Not Dating Ramsey Nuoah—Ghanaian Actress Cries Out

Fast-rising Ghanaian actress, Emmanuela Mendoza, better known as Ella Mensah, has denied speculations making the rounds that she was dumped out of Ghanaian movies by ...

I knew I was going to emerge the Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria 2014 – Iheoma Nnadi

The ‘Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria’ MBGN, 2014, Miss Iheoma Nnadi has stated that she had always known she would win the MBGN title.The 19-year-old ...

EXCLUSIVE: 9ice Furious Over Wedding Reports

Top Nigerian music artiste, 9ice, seems to be angry and would not want to entertain any question from the media concerning reports him getting married ...

Selecting A Perfect Eye Shadow For Your Makeup

Eye shadows have been a long lasting trend amongst ladies. It does not only add colour to the face, but also curves the eye shape ...

US Model At War With Tania Over Wizkid

Reports making the rounds is that a US-based Nigerian model named Caroline Ikpea is not at loggerheads with Tania Omotayo, girlfriend of wave making Nigerian ...

Danger Of Celebrities Posting Pictures Of Maids Online

It is gradually becoming a trend for Nigerian celebrities to show off their domestic staff on the internet through social media platforms like Instagram and ...

Video: Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde Has the Sexiest Accent in Nollywood?

Jordan Burchette noted the 12 sexiest accents in the world for CNN Travel on November 30, 2012, and he ranked the Nigerian accent as the ...