Prostate cancer in young men: An important clinical entity
Prostate cancer is considered a disease of older men (aged >65 years), but today over 10% of new diagnoses in the USA occur in young men aged ≤55 years. Early-onset prostate cancer, that is prostate cancer diagnosed at age ≤55 years, differs from prostate cancer diagnosed at an older age in several ways. Firstly, among men with high-grade and advanced-stage prostate cancer, those diagnosed at a young age have a higher cause-specific mortality than men diagnosed at an older age, except those over age 80 years. This finding suggests that important biological differences exist between early-onset prostate cancer and late-onset disease. Secondly, early-onset prostate cancer has a strong genetic component, which indicates that young men with prostate cancer could benefit from evaluation of genetic risk. Furthermore, although the majority of men with early-onset prostate cancer are diagnosed with low-risk disease, the extended life expectancy of these patients exposes them to long-term effects of treatment-related morbidities and to long-term risk of disease progression leading to death from prostate cancer. For these reasons, patients with early-onset prostate cancer pose unique challenges, as well as opportunities, for both research and clinical communities. Current data suggest that early-onset prostate cancer is a distinct phenotype-from both an aetiological and clinical perspective-that deserves further attention.
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