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Test For Prostate Cancer Gene Soon To Be Available

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the turn-your-head-and-cough dept.

Medicine 72

Tiger4 writes "CNN reports on a simple test to determine the presence of genes linked to Prostate Cancer. These five genes, if present, can increase the risk of prostate cancer up to nine times. 'More than 25,000 American men will die from prostate cancer this year. But prostate cancer can be treated successfully if the disease is caught early. A blood test that can detect whether a man is at high risk for developing prostate cancer is on the horizon. The study was published in the February 28, 2008, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.' It turns out the company actually wants to test saliva, making the test significantly easier and more convenient. Compare this to the tests available for BRCA, the so called Breast Cancer genes. Finding you have the gene can be devastating, but knowing well in advance of developing cancer allows many more options to be considered."

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72 comments

Cure? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26310491)

Now all we need to do is find a cure.

How to Falsify Evolution (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26310545)

Any theory that does not provide a method to falsify and validate its claims is a useless theory.

Example; if someone said a watermelon is blue on the inside, but turns red when you cut it open, how could you prove them wrong? How could they prove they're right?

You couldn't and they can't. There is no method available to confirm or disprove what was said about the watermelon. Therefore we can dismiss the theory of the blue interior of watermelons as being pure speculation and guess work, not science. You can not say something is true without demonstrating how it is not false, and you can not say something is not true without demonstrating how it is false. Any theory that can not explain how to both validate and falsify its claims in this manner can not be taken seriously. If one could demonstrate clearly that the watermelon appears to indeed be blue inside, without being able to demonstrate what colors it is not, we still have no absolute confirmation of its color. That is to say asserting something is the way it is, without being able to assert what it is not, is a useless claim. Therefore, in order for any theory to be confirmed to be true, it must be shown how to both validate and falsify its claims. It is circular reasoning to be able to validate something, without saying how to falsify it, or vice versa. This is the nature of verification and falsification. Both must be clearly demonstrated in order for a theory to be confirmed to be true or false. Something can not be proven to be true without showing that it is not false, and something can not be proven to be not true, unless it can be proven to be false.

Unfortunately, Darwin never properly demonstrated how to falsify his theory, which means evolution has not properly been proven, since it has never been demonstrated what the evidence does not suggest. In the event that evolution is not true, there should be a clear and defined method of reasoning to prove such by demonstrating through evidence that one could not possibly make any alternative conclussions based on said evidence. It is for this reason we must be extremely skeptical of how the evidence has been used to support evolution for lack of proper method of falsification, especially when the actual evidence directly contradicts the theory. If it can be demonstrated how to properly falsify evolution, regardless if evolution is true or not, only then can evolution ever be proven or disproved.

It will now be demonstrated that Darwin never told us how to properly falsify evolution, which will also show why no one can claim to have disproved or proven the theory, until now. It must be able to be demonstrated that if evolution were false, how to go about proving that, and while Darwin indeed made a few statements on this issue, his statements were not adequate or honest. In order to show Darwin's own falsification ideas are inadequate, rather than discussing them and disproving them individually, all that needs to be done is demonstrate a proper falsification argument for evolution theory. That is to say if the following falsification is valid, and can not show evolution to be false, then evolution theory would be proven true by way of deductive reasoning. That is the essence of falsification; if it can be shown that something is not false, it must therefore be true.

So the following falsification method must be the perfect counter to Darwin's validation method, and would therefore prove evolution to be true in the event this falsification method can not show evolution to be false. As said before; if something is not false, it must therefore be true. This would confirm the accuracy of this falsification method, which all theories must have, and show that Darwin did not properly show how evolution could be falsified, in the event that evolution was not true. In order to show evolution is not false (thereby proving it to be true), we must be able to show how it would be false, if it were. Without being able to falsify evolution in this manner, you can not validate it either. If something can not be shown to be false, yet it is said to be true, this is circular reasoning, since you have no way of confirming this conclusion. Example; If we told a blind person our car is red, and they agreed we were telling the truth, the blind person could not tell another blind person accurate information regarding the true color of the car. While he has evidence that the car is red by way of personal testimony, he has no way of confirming if this is true or false, since he might have been lied to, regardless if he was or not.

So one must demonstrate a method to prove beyond any doubt that in the event that evolution is not true, it can be shown to be such. To say evolution is true, without a way to show it is false, means evolution has never been proven to be true. If evolution be true, and this method of falsification be valid, then by demonstrating the falsification method to be unable to disprove evolution, we would confirm evolution to be right. Alternatively, if the falsification method is valid and demonstrates that Darwin's validation method does not prove evolution, then evolution is false indeed.

Firstly, the hypothesis. If evolution is incorrect, then it can be demonstrated to be so by using both living and dead plants and animals. The following is the way to do so and the logical alternative to the theory. The fossil record can be used as well, but not as evolution theory would have us believe. In order to properly falsify something, all biases must be removed, since assuming something is correct without knowing how to prove its false is akin to the blind person who can not confirm the color of someones car. Since evolution has not correctly been shown how to be falsified, as will be demonstrated, we must be open to other possibilities by way of logic, and ultimately reject evolution by way of evidence, should the evidence lead us in such a direction.

If evolution be not true, the only explanation for the appearance of varied life on the planet is intelligent design. This would predict that all life since the initial creation has been in a state of entropy since their initial creation, which is the opposite of evolution. If this be true, then animals and plants are not increasing in genetic complexity or new traits as evolution theory would have us believe, but are in fact losing information. This would explain why humans no longer have room for their wisdom teeth and why the human appendix is decreasing in functionality. The only objection to this claim that evolution theory would propose is that evolution does not always increase the genetic complexity and traits of an organism, but rather, sometimes decreases them as well. This objection is only made because we have only ever actually observed entropy in living creatures, which suits the creation model far better than evolution, which shall be demonstrated.

If the creation model is true, we can make verifiable predictions that disprove evolution. For example; the creation model states that life was created diversified to begin with, with distinct "kinds" of animals, by a supernatural Creator that did not evolve Himself, but rather always existed. Without going into the debate on how such a being is possible to exist, it must be said that either everything came from nothing, or something always existed. To those who say the universe always existed; the claim of this hypothesis is that the Creator always existed, which is equally as viable for the previous logic.

In order to demonstrate that the Creator is responsible for life and created life diversified to begin with, the word "kind" must be defined. A kind is the original prototype of any ancestral line; that is to say if God created two lions, and two cheetahs, these are distinct kinds. In this scenario, these two cats do not share a common ancestor, as they were created separately, and therefore are not the same kind despite similar appearance and design. If this is the case, evolution theory is guilty of using homogeneous structures as evidence of common ancestry, and then using homogeneous structures to prove common ancestry; this is circular reasoning!

The idea of kinds is in direct contrast to evolution theory which says all cats share a common ancestor, which the creation model does not hold to be true. If evolution theory is true, the word kind is a superficial label that does not exist, because beyond our classifications, there would be no clear identifiable division among animals or plants, since all plants and animals would therefore share a common ancestor. The word kind can only be applied in the context of the creation model, but can not be dismissed as impossible due to the evolutionary bias, simply because evolution has not been properly validated nor can it be held to be true until it can correctly be shown to be impossible to falsify.

One must look at the evidence without bias and conclude based on contemporary evidence (not speculation) if indeed evolution is the cause of the diversity of species, or not. It must also been demonstrated if the clear and distinct species do or do not share a common ancestor with each other, regardless that they may appear to be of the same family or design. In order to verify this, all that needs to be done is to demonstrate that a lion and cheetah do or do not have a common ancestor; if it can be demonstrated that any animal or plant within a family (cats in this case) do not share a common ancestor with each other, this would disprove evolution immediately and prove supernatural creation of kinds.

However, since lions and cheetahs are both clearly of the same family or design, and can potentially interbreed, we must be careful not to overlook the possibility of a very recent common ancestor If such is the case, this does not exclude the possibility that the two are originally from two separate kinds that do not share a common ancestor previous to them having one. It is therefore necessary to build an ancestral history based on verifiable evidence (not homogeneous structures in the fossil record) that can clearly demonstrate where exactly the cheetah and the lion had a common ancestor. If no such common ancestor can be found and confirmed without bias, and this test is performed between two or more of any plant or animal life without ever finding anything to the contrary, we can confirm with certainty evolution did not happen, and that kinds do exist.

In the event that fossils are too elusive (compounded with the fact that they can not be used as evidence of common descent due to circular reasoning e.g. homogeneous structures), then there is a superior and far more effective way to falsify evolution. Evolution states by addition of new traits (new organs, new anatomy) that the first lifeforms increased in complexity and size by introduction of new traits, slowly increasing step by step to more complex life forms. Notice that the addition of such traits can not be attributed to the alteration of old ones, for obvious reasons, since detrimental or beneficial mutations are only alterations of already existing traits, and can not account for an increase in the number of traits any given life form possesses.

That means a bacteria becoming able to digest nylon is a mere mutation of already existing digestive capabilities, and can not be classified as an increase in traits. Evolution theory would predict that the process of gradual change and increase in traits is an ongoing process, and therefore should be observable in todays living animals and plants through new emerging traits that any given plant or animal did not possess in its ancestry. Those who say such changes take millions of years and can not be observed today only say so because no such trait has ever been observed to emerge or be in the process of emerging in contemporary history, which is what the creation model predicts. If evolution theory be true, we would expect that at least one animal or plant would contain a new trait or be in the process of growing such a triat over its known common ancestors (that is not simply a multiplication or alteration of a trait it already had).

At this point, the fossil record can not be used as evidence to prove that evolution can produce new traits due to the fact that two animals that appear to be of the same family (T-rex and Brontosaurus, dinosaurs), while they do indeed exhibit distinct trait differences, may not have a common ancestor, but rather were created differently with all their different traits. It is therefore of paramount importance to show a single instance of such an increase of traits exists within a provable ancestry (stress provable) in contemporary times, and not assume anything concerning where the traits in the fossil record owe their origin. If it can not be shown that any animal or plant living today (or very recently deceased) exhibits any trait variance that can clearly and thoroughly be proven to be a new addition over its (stress) provable ancestors, compounded with the reasoning that two similar animals (such as a penguin and a woodpecker) do not necessarily or provably share a common ancestor, then evolution is clearly absent entirely, and supernatural intelligent design and creation is thereby proven beyond all reasonable doubt.

In conclusion, should any two animals or plants within a family (a palm tree and a coconut tree) be proven to not share a common ancestor, or if no provable increase of traits can be demonstrated to be in its beginnings or actively present in the animals and plants living today over their provable ancestry, then The Bible is correct when it says God created all the animals and plants as distinct kinds with their traits to begin with. This is the only way to falsify evolution, and it is amazing (and convenient) that Darwin never encouraged people to attempt to falsify his theory in this manner.

Re:How to Falsify Evolution (3, Funny)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#26310631)

Example; if someone said a watermelon is blue on the inside, but turns red when you cut it open, how could you prove them wrong? How could they prove they're right?

By using your brain. In quantum physics they had this exact problem. And they hated it. ;)
Maybe you remember the double-slit experiment, where light from one light source creates an interference pattern instead of the previously expected two lines. Every time the scientist tried to measure where the photons went trough, the interference went away. There was no way to measure it and retain the pattern. So they got very very smart and tricked physics with its own methods.

They used the strange effect of quantum entanglement. Before sending the photons trough the two slits, they entangled the photons with another photon. Then they sent both down a similar double-slit set-up... with one small difference. They measured the entangled photon! And because they never measured the actual photon, the interference survived!

But because two entangled particles share the same quantum state, they could measure the entangled photon and get the same data as for the actual photon.

I'm sorry, I did not read the rest of your comment after countering your base assumption. It was too long anyway. ;)

Re:How to Falsify Evolution (2, Funny)

Cassius Corodes (1084513) | more than 5 years ago | (#26310927)

Hi I'm doing a study of why sometimes otherwise smart people believe silly things. Plz contact me - you seem like the perfect example.

Test for prostate cancer gene? (1)

Hojima (1228978) | more than 5 years ago | (#26312235)

Does it still involve me taking my pants off and hearing the words "trust me I'm a doctor"?

Re:How to Falsify Evolution (1)

philspear (1142299) | more than 5 years ago | (#26314985)

How to falsify evolution? Huh? Alabama done proved evolution wrong every day since God created it 4000 years ago!

(I tease you because I love you, Alabama.)

Re:Cure? (0)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#26310577)

There actually already is. It works like this: You take a successful virus, and replace its genetic payload with your own snippet. If you do it right, the virus can "infect" erroneous cells, fix them, then reproduce to "infect" more cells. A pandemic of that kind would also be possible.

The problem is, that in genetics, as in psychology, it is a thing of definition what you call a disease, and what not.
My brother for example has that "thinness" gene, where you can eat all you like (at least in your young years), you won't get fat.
I'm fat. He's not.
On the other hand, he quickly gets cold in the water, and can't gain weight trough sports that quickly. I can stay in the water much longer and inflate like a balloon if I even touch something similar to a dumbbell (is that how you call it in English).

Which one do you want to call a disease.

Now let's say, we remove/change the genes that increase the risk for cancer, and then discover a big plus that makes people want to take the cancer risk anyway...

It's not that easy.

In the long run, I'm all for genetic freedom. Change your genetics how you like. You buy specific virii-"mods" that only "infect" you, and then something in your body changes. You could change your hair color, add some starfish-genes to regrow body parts, or why not grow some decorative fairy wings if you are a girl?
Some might really fear everything that could go wrong there. But hey, you only live once, and the gains far outweigh the negative aspects.

Give me the first shot! And a sub-cranial-bone-brain-computer-interface for my brain too.

Re:Cure? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26310709)

There actually already is [a cure for cancer/prostate cancer].

There isn't.

It works like this: You take a successful virus, and replace its genetic payload with your own snippet. If you do it right, the virus can "infect" erroneous cells, fix them, then reproduce to "infect" more cells. A pandemic of that kind would also be possible.

There are several problems with gene therapy, or, in your example, somatic gene therapy, as we call this technique. To summarize them: The problem is to "do it right". Granted, some cells are easier to target with specific virii, and some erroneous genes are easier to displace than others. But there's always an error margin in such a therapy, there always will be side-effects. And when talking about modifying genes of multicellular organisms, the most common side-effect is this: cancer. You will at some point of the therapy introduce dis-regulation of certain genes and thus you will increase the risk of cancer.

Gene therapy is not ready yet for prime time, the benefits don't outweigh the faults we introduce (some extreme cases of genetic disorders are possible exceptions).

Now let's say, we remove/change the genes that increase the risk for cancer, and then discover a big plus that makes people want to take the cancer risk anyway...

Well, that's why some disease genes (like the one responsible for sickle-cell anemia) do exist at all: They provide for some positive side-effects.

In the long run, I'm all for genetic freedom. Change your genetics how you like. You buy specific virii-"mods" that only "infect" you, and then something in your body changes.

If medically indicated, I'd have not much problems with that. But ...

You could change your hair color, add some starfish-genes to regrow body parts, or why not grow some decorative fairy wings if you are a girl?
Some might really fear everything that could go wrong there. But hey, you only live once, and the gains far outweigh the negative aspects.

The negative aspects far outweigh the benefits if you just change your genes for the sake of it.

And, remember: Gene therapy sounds great in the media because scientists need funding.

Disclosure:
IAAMB (molecular biologist)

MOD PARENT UP (1)

Amenacier (1386995) | more than 5 years ago | (#26310867)

Insightful post! Scientists should be able to get funding without all the media hype over techniques that aren't yet ready for implementation.

Re:MOD PARENT UP (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#26310905)

Scientists should be able to get funding. Full stop! :)

Think of what happened if you exchanged the military and the science budget!
The USA could become a country of geniuses with a very successful economy and education in 10-20 years.
Same thing with Iran supporting the retardization (Is that how you would write it in English?) of their people so they become better followers. On a smaller scale.

We'd also be speaking a different language... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26311191)

or something similar caused by the fact that we would be over run by some foreign sovereign, or simply foreigners. The reason we have a military is because we kind of like how we live, and what we have to do it with, and do not want to see that change. I am all for better life through better medicine, I am also for maintaining that life through a better military as long as bad, covetous people exist.

Re:We'd also be speaking a different language... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26311811)

I, for one, would like to welcome our Canadian overlords.

Re:MOD PARENT UP (1)

Klootzak (824076) | more than 5 years ago | (#26316175)

Think of what happened if you exchanged the military and the science budget! The USA could become a country of geniuses with a very successful economy and education in 10-20 years.

Umm, not all Scientists live in the USA, mate. ;)
(Case in point - Neither Amenacier or myself live in the U.S.)
You could probably substitute "Sports Budget" for Military Budget in your example when residing in our Country, and it would be (more or less) the equivilent.

Re:Cure? (0)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#26310883)

Damn Slashdot. I lost the whole reply just now. I'll try to re-create it.

There isn't.

There are several problems with gene therapy,

So there is. You just contradicted yourself. :P

The problem is to "do it right". Granted, some cells are easier to target with specific virii, and some erroneous genes are easier to displace than others. But there's always an error margin in such a therapy, there always will be side-effects.

Maybe I'm more of a risk-taker, but if I'm faced with cancer... I mean, what's the worst side effect I could get from the therapy?

And when talking about modifying genes of multicellular organisms, the most common side-effect is this: cancer.

Cancer?

You will at some point of the therapy introduce dis-regulation of certain genes and thus you will increase the risk of cancer.

As far as I know, the virus searches in the DNA for (a) specific marker sequence(s), and then replaces that exact part. A change in how your body works after this is the whole point of this. You have to decide, which version of that microcode you want. The one with the prostate cancer risk or the one where you always get cold a bit faster for example. :)

Gene therapy is not ready yet for prime time, the benefits don't outweigh the faults we introduce.

Your prime time is not my prime time. Just replace one short sequence. The exact one where the difference is. Nothing else. Then the only fault that can happen, is that the virus shell inserts that part in a wrong way. Guess what: That can happen on any transcription process. Or do you mean, that the virus would still insert it wrongly on a very large part of the cells? Then that original virus would not a very successful one would it...?

You will at some point of the therapy introduce dis-regulation of certain genes and thus you will increase the risk of cancer.

That last part, that you commented on with this, was not meant as "We could do this today", but more like "In the future, we could possibly do all this". Of course I mean a future where the negative aspects oven on huge changes are pretty small. Or did you really think I would go to my geneticist, tell him to put a bit of starfish DNA in this virus, and then put it inside my blood right now? ;)

A tiny change (a few base pairs): I'm OK with that right now.
A large change (whole gene, more): No way. But in 20 years you can definitely ask me again!

Please elaborate if interested. Me strongly disagreeing with you does not mean that I'm not interested in your arguments. Just remember that I'm not you. :)

Re:Cure? (3, Interesting)

Amenacier (1386995) | more than 5 years ago | (#26310919)

Carrying the mutant genes in question (such as the ones that give a predisposition to breast cancer or prostate cancer) is not a sure sign that you will actually contract that cancer. Virii are part of a biological system, and as such are not immune from natural forces such as mutation rates - while DNA replication and other cellular mechanisms are designed to maintain the integrity of the genetic information, the processes are not perfect. So is it worth taking a risk to fix an allele that predisposes you to cancer with a treatment that may induce cancer itself?

Re:Cure? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26311109)

There isn't.

There are several problems with gene therapy,

So there is. You just contradicted yourself. :P

No, I didn't: Gene therapy isn't a cure of cancer because of its technical limitations. I didn't state that the technique of gene therapy didn't exist.

The problem is to "do it right". Granted, some cells are easier to target with specific virii, and some erroneous genes are easier to displace than others. But there's always an error margin in such a therapy, there always will be side-effects.

Maybe I'm more of a risk-taker, but if I'm faced with cancer... I mean, what's the worst side effect I could get from the therapy?

It all depends on the type of cancer (or other disease) you have. There may be cases where the benefits of gene therapy outweigh the risks, but these cases are rare. In your original posting you stated gene therapy was already an existing cure, which is false, and suggested it would be usable for fun stuff, which I consider a dangerous approach.

As far as I know, the virus searches in the DNA for (a) specific marker sequence(s), and then replaces that exact part.

No; in fact, most viral vectors used insert their payload randomly, that is, the defective gene doesn't be replaced. They just introduce an additional, functional allele into the cells.

Furthermore, the sequence the virus inserts is not clean, but has flanking and regulative regions which are necessary for insertion and for expression of the gene. Therefore, it's not like editing a comment with a text editor. And finally, some of the virii will mutate and will thereby either transfect other cell types or they will insert a mutated gene or mutated regulatory sequences.

Your prime time is not my prime time. Just replace one short sequence. The exact one where the difference is. Nothing else.

This is not how gene therapy works. Most side effects are attributable to randomness of the process.

Then the only fault that can happen, is that the virus shell inserts that part in a wrong way. Guess what: That can happen on any transcription process.

Well, that hasn't anything to do with transcription. ;) Anyway, there are lots of things that can go wrong.

Or do you mean, that the virus would still insert it wrongly on a very large part of the cells? Then that original virus would not a very successful one would it...?

That would not be a useful virus, indeed. But cancer usually doesn't develop because many cells harbor the same mutation independently of each other, but a single cell collects so many mutations until it finally becomes a cancer cell; and the resulting cancer is of clonal origin of this single cell. The number of cells that get infected by the virii just increase the probability that one single cell will become a cancer cell.

You will at some point of the therapy introduce dis-regulation of certain genes and thus you will increase the risk of cancer.

That last part, that you commented on with this, was not meant as "We could do this today", but more like "In the future, we could possibly do all this". Of course I mean a future where the negative aspects oven on huge changes are pretty small.

You wording was like you meant gene therapy worked already today, but I now see you're not that misinformed. ;)

Or did you really think I would go to my geneticist, tell him to put a bit of starfish DNA in this virus, and then put it inside my blood right now? ;)

Possibly. ;)

A tiny change (a few base pairs): I'm OK with that right now.
A large change (whole gene, more): No way. But in 20 years you can definitely ask me again!

Of course the technique will improve. And there's lots of work going on to improve gene therapy, that is, to make it more specific. As of today, we can easily introduce chunks of DNA at random places, but we are not able to specifically and selectively modify just a few base pairs. This would make gene therapy a real cure for many things, but it is far, far beyond our means.

Please elaborate if interested.

I hope I was elaborate enough. ;)

Re:Cure? (1)

PingPongBoy (303994) | more than 5 years ago | (#26321191)

>> There actually already is [a cure for cancer/prostate cancer].

> There isn't.

There is.

It just isn't an easy-to-implement cure. All you have to do is kill every cancer cell. Given the sheer number of cells to check, it's a challenge.

Surgery for reattaching limbs has been done. Intense surgery for dealing with the body on a cell-by-cell basis may be feasible too. Indeed, start with a bloodstream filter to scan for spreading cancer. Acupuncture may not have real results, but scale it down to allow deep and extractable probing into the body and it could be a solution to cancer.

A problem is cost - if a person earns a paltry 2 or 3 million over a lifetime, but it costs at least a million in labor and time on special machines to deal with every cell in the body, how can a cure be afforded?

Re:Cure? (1)

Thiez (1281866) | more than 5 years ago | (#26311217)

> In the long run, I'm all for genetic freedom. Change your genetics how you like. You buy specific virii-"mods" that only "infect" you, and then something in your body changes. You could change your hair color, add some starfish-genes to regrow body parts, or why not grow some decorative fairy wings if you are a girl? > Some might really fear everything that could go wrong there. But hey, you only live once, and the gains far outweigh the negative aspects. The problem with the whole 'genetics' thingy is that it tends to affect your offspring. I don't mind people tweaking their own bodies but I would object to changing the genetics of ones children unless it were to prevent some terrible genetic disease (Which diseases qualify as 'a terrible genetic disease' I'll leave to an exercise for the reader ;) ).

Re:Cure? (2, Insightful)

rhyder128k (1051042) | more than 5 years ago | (#26313569)

This touches on a significant male rights issue that the press refuse to report on. Male cancers lag far behind [businessweek.com] the cancers that are specific to women in terms of awareness [everyman-campaign.org] and research. Few people even know that prostate cancer is actually more common than breast cancer. More men than women die of cancer each year.

Despite this, feminists would probably argue that they are campaigning in order to raise awareness of female cancers. A woman might mention to her colleagues that she is going to have a lump in her breast examined. Most men would find it difficult to raise the subject of a lump in their testicles when chatting with their closest friend.

Re:Cure? (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317845)

Most men would find it difficult to raise the subject of a lump in their testicles when chatting with their closest friend.

I take it, then, you've never had a prostate examination. Lucky you. Prostate cancer has nothing to do with a lump on your testicles. That would suggest testicular cancer, which is an entirely different kettle of fish.

Re:Cure? (1)

rhyder128k (1051042) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317959)

Prostate cancer has nothing to do with a lump on your testicles.

I didn't say that it did. I was talking about cancers specific to males. They need at least an equal amount of awareness raising and destigmatization, if not more.

Relevant! (1, Funny)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#26310507)

Compare this to the tests available for BRCA, the so called Breast Cancer genes. Finding you have the gene can be devastating, but knowing well in advance of developing cancer allows many more options to be considered.

Very relevant for the typical manboobs wearing Slashdotter. ;)

Re:Relevant! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26310571)

Male Slashdotter here, my bra size is 40D, give or take depending on the bra. I am wearing them all the time, it's very comfortable.

Captcha: raised

Re:Relevant! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26310727)

Please, PLEASE, don't bring that horrible disease from thedailywtf.com, to always comment on what Captcha you had, here. Nobody fuckin' cares! What's next? Commenting on what a good shit you had "this mroing".

Re:Relevant! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26310975)

I dropped a brown rope this morning the size of a small black child. At one point I wasn't sure if I was taking a shit, or if the shit was taking me. And while I'm on that point, what's the deal with taking a shit? Shouldn't it be leaving a shit? I'm certainly not taking anything with me when I'm done.

Test for Homosexuality Gene Soon To Be Available (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26310641)

But then again, there's no need. If you bought a Mac, we already know for sure!

Is it a flamebait...? (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#26310663)

...if you
1) include yourself.
2) make it very obvious that this is humor.

Or is it just someone having problems with being overweight, and being angry at me for it instead of at himself. ;)
Ignoring the problem is not going to make it go away, you know...

Re:Relevant! (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 5 years ago | (#26311441)

Actually, BRCA is very relevant. The same gene is believed to play a role in prostate cancer.

Re:Canser spread of (1)

Breez911 (1237232) | more than 5 years ago | (#26321033)

Canser is a form of civilization of the body!

Taking cystic canser, as an example: Fibrous lines joining and or forming additional cysts. Lines and cysts spreading toxins into the body.

A road map; diagram of civilization: Lanes; Roads; Highways, joining: Villages; Towns; Cities, all of which produce mountains of Techinlogical toxic waste!

Ci-vil-ize-ation: The canser, killing Planet Earth! As it does the human body! All of it caused by Human Error!

Isaiah 3:12 As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them.
O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to ERR, and destroy the way of thy paths.

A test already exists (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26310541)

How silly. A simple test already exists: have any of the males in the past three generations in your family died from prostate cancer?

If the answer is "Yes", get checked regularly.

Re:A test already exists (1)

slugtastic (1437569) | more than 5 years ago | (#26310785)

If it was that simple, I dont think that there would be 25000 deaths from prostate cancer every year.

Re:A test already exists (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#26310913)

I could completely believe that 25000 of those with a risk for prostate cancer, are either ignorant or badly informed. ;)

Re:A test already exists (1)

slugtastic (1437569) | more than 5 years ago | (#26310967)

Or none of their male relatives lived long enough to die from prostate cancer.

Re:A test already exists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26311461)

If it was that simple, I dont think that there would be 25000 deaths from prostate cancer every year.

People are lazy. If there are no symptoms they don't bother to check. Listen up, aging slashdotters: Even if you don't die from it you will wish you'd caught it earlier. Because chances are you will wear a diaper for a year and not even viagra will help you get an erection.

Except... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26310897)

That only works if the males in your past generations lived long enough for prostate cancer to have been the cause of their death.

Unfortunately there's all of these other nasty things that can kill you before that happens, like other diseases (communicable or otherwise), car crashes, airplane crashes, house fires, murderers, drugs, etc. etc. etc.

Most families don't keep genetic heritages of their families to do retroactive genetic testing, so we're up a creek when it comes to it. Might as well just whip up a genetic test for the current generation and see where we can go from there.

Re:A test already exists (1)

thered2001 (1257950) | more than 5 years ago | (#26311519)

If you're adopted, you can't answer this question.

Re:A test already exists (1)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 5 years ago | (#26311803)

but even in the last 50 years men died from other things like heart attacks and stress from hard work and smoking first. You may be the first person in your family to live long enough to get prostrate cancer, or at least to have it be the thing that kills you.

Gattaca (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26310551)

Funny, I had just watched 'Gattaca' last night on Hulu.

Remember - it's all about relative risk (5, Informative)

pgolik (526039) | more than 5 years ago | (#26310573)

Just remember that these are not genes (or, more correctly - alleles) that determine, in an absolute manner, whether you'll get the cancer or not (unlike, say in the case of the mutant gene for Cystic Fibrosis). They are variants that, when present alone or in combination increase the risk. It's a bit like with insurance - when you're a twenty-something, living in a large city, and want to insure a sports car, you'll pay a greater premium than a middle aged small-town father insuring a minivan, because the risk that you'll have an accident is several times higher. But that doesn't mean that all urban twenty-somethings in sports car will crash (in fact, most of them won't), and it doesn't mean that the minivan driving fathers never crash. It't the same with the association of genetic variants with cancer - there is no causative relationship - there is only an increase in risk. Which means that the test can be informative (to a varying degree), but is never definitive (unless it's a simple Mendelian trait, like CF, which the common cancers are not). Read this informative post on The Evolution & Medicine Review [evmedreview.com] for a sobering view on genetic association in complex traits. Also, if you follow the link to the company page you'll see (in the News section) that the main paper (in NEJM) reporting the association was a study done on the Swedish population, and it's by no means certain, that it'll hold for other population backgrounds. All this doesn't mean that it's worthless, just an advice to take it with a grain of salt.

Re:Remember - it's all about relative risk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26312163)

if you follow the link to the company page you'll see (in the News section) that the main paper (in NEJM) reporting the association was a study done on the Swedish population

Excellent... Since I'm not Swedish, I don't have to worry about Prostate cancer!

Re:Remember - it's all about relative risk (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 5 years ago | (#26314839)

Yes, now there can be a quick, simple test that can be administered to add another reason for why your application for insurance will be denied.

Of course, you will not be told that it is based on genetic testing.

Holy cow! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26310575)

Test For Prostate Cancer Gene Soon To Be Available on Saturday January 03, @05:13AM

That really WAS soon!

Re:Holy cow! (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#26310643)

Hey, it was 12:13 CET here, you insensitive clod! ;)

Significantly easier? (2, Interesting)

Amenacier (1386995) | more than 5 years ago | (#26310593)

The case of the British couple who had their daughter tested for the presence of mutant breast cancer genes is not representative of all genetic testing for breast cancer genes. This case involves pre-implantation diagnosis, and if the child was carrying the mutant alleles for the breast cancer genes, the only option to avoid having a child carrying the mutations would have been to abort the foetus (or carry it to term, but knowing that it carried the mutant alleles). But this isn't the usual way of testing for mutations in those genes - I could go and be tested tomorrow, and from what I understand it would involve a blood sample (see for details on testing for the breast cancer genes [cancer.gov] ). Granted, a saliva test would be easier than a blood test, but all in all they're both far easier than the pre-implantation diagnosis carried out in the referenced articles (Slashdot article [slashdot.org] and the orignal article from the BBC [bbc.co.uk] ).

Fuck piss and shit (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26310665)

There is a reason why slashdot is a cesspit of goatse and linux zealotry.

Hint, 1% market share = 99% zealotry.

Mod me down instead of fixing your code, and you will be crying in 2010 why you still aren't "on the desktop".

90 times more probable? (1)

janwedekind (778872) | more than 5 years ago | (#26310985)

You may be "devastated" to find out that 70% percent of 70 year old (men) have prostate cancer. 90 year old men nearly *all* have prostate cancer. Talking about genes which make it 90 times more probable to develop cancer doesn't make sense. Maybe it is about early prostate cancer? Or did almost all of us get this gift from god?

Re:90 times more probable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26312289)

The test will almost always come up positive since it is actually 80 percent of men at age 70, and 30 percent at age 50 who have prostate cancer but die of other causes. When one adds in the deaths from prostate cancer and the detection of prostate cancer but not yet dead at those age groups, the numbers will increase above the reported percentages to probably close to 100 percent for the test. Breslow, N; Chan CW, Dhom G, Drury RA, Franks LM, Gellei B, Lee YS, Lundberg S, Sparke B, Sternby NH, Tulinius H. (November 15 1977). "Latent carcinoma of prostate at autopsy in seven areas. The International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyons, France". Int J Cancer 20 (5): 680â"8. doi:10.1002/ijc.2910200506. PMID 924691.

Forget detection, work on prevention (4, Informative)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 5 years ago | (#26311001)

And masturbate a lot. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/3072021.stm [bbc.co.uk]

Re:Forget detection, work on prevention (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 5 years ago | (#26311183)

Brilliant!

What a lame excuse for looking at Internet porn and wanking . . . our girlfriends and wives will never swallow that one!

Um, oh, sorry, no pun intended.

Maybe this solution just needs more publicity. Back in the 90's they had a "Million Man March" in Washington, DC.

Maybe we need a "Million Man Wank" in Washington, DC this year to raise (huh, huh) awareness.

The Founding Fathers would definitely be amused.

Re:Forget detection, work on prevention (1)

epine (68316) | more than 5 years ago | (#26327039)

I once read a study which claimed that many men tend to "freshen the troops" in the hours leading up to a fling after a brief (e.g. week long) separation from their girl friend. This is claimed to improve sperm fitness. It doesn't surprise me at all that there is a best before date. Biology tends not to leave major biological systems in parking orbits, lest they not be in good working order when the time comes, whatever the Calvinists might think.

Calmly does it (1)

sublimino (1425913) | more than 5 years ago | (#26311019)

I am far more keen on the traditional digital examination thanks.

why not a cheap, safe and working solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26311157)

for prostate cancer nothing is better than a finger in the ass (...yum!lovely!), eventually a transrectal ultrasonography, eventually a PSA ratio (Free PSA:Binded PSA).
This sounds like a postgenomic bullshit!

Peace,
b0mb0l0

Health and life insurance (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 5 years ago | (#26311195)

Gee... I wonder how health and life insurance companies will react to a test that will make people they insure - appear to be about to be dieing from cancer?
At least on paper and where their insurance premiums and insurance contracts are concerned.

Re:Health and life insurance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26311831)

Gee... I wonder how health and life insurance companies will react to a test that will make people they insure - appear to be about to be dieing from cancer?

As pgolik pointed out [slashdot.org] , this test only indicates a greater risk for cancer, not a certainty.

Perhaps, to expand on pgolik's analogy about auto insurance premiums for sports cars vs minivans, someone with a genetically higher risk for cancer should pay more for health insurance vs someone with a genetically lower risk. Perhaps that could be partially offset by annual or bi-annual blood tests for early detection of cancer.

Just tossing that out for discussion.

Re:Health and life insurance (1)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 5 years ago | (#26311849)

I think there are already laws on the books that insurance companies can't use data collected this way against your policy. After all, if you are checked that you might get the disease, then they can run a simple test and catch the problem when it's cheap and doesn't require expensive operations and chemo.

Re:Health and life insurance (1)

Vengance Daemon (946173) | more than 5 years ago | (#26312673)

You're right, they "can't use data collected this way against your policy," but they can and will use it against you when deciding whether or not to provide you with health insurance in the first place. Not everyone gets their health insurance through their employer; some of us have to purchase it on our own, and believe me, they use whatever they can against you.

Warning: Anonymously (1)

markdavis (642305) | more than 5 years ago | (#26311229)

One thing to keep in mind... I think any type of genetic testing or screening should be done anonymously. If you test positively for being at risk for any disease, and that information is entered into a computer, there is a risk that information can be used against you later. Insurance companies and employers would love nothing more than to discriminate against people who have POTENTIAL problems. Even worse, a genetic fingerprint can make its way into some security database without your knowledge or consent, making you a possible suspect in any crime where you might have been casually present. Once collected, you can't "undo" such a thing.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gattica [wikipedia.org] comes to mind

The only truly private information is information not collected, or collected anonymously. Such tests should be for YOUR benefit, not the benefit of others.

Re:Warning: Anonymously (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 5 years ago | (#26311481)

Insurance companies ... would love nothing more than to discriminate against people who have POTENTIAL problems.

Of course they would. That's their job. (If by discriminate against you mean charge a higher premium) If they found out that teenage drivers have a higher risk of being involved in an automobile accident, then they would charge teenage drivers a higher premium... Oh wait, they have, so they do. Smokers are at higher risk of lung cancer than the general population: higher premiums. If it is twice as likely that they'd have to pay out to someone who has this genetic fingerprint, then shouldn't that person pay twice the premiums?

Re:Warning: Anonymously (1)

markdavis (642305) | more than 5 years ago | (#26311791)

The point of insurance is to SHARE risk, not to discriminate. If everyone paid premiums exactly based on perfect knowledge of risk, then everyone would pay exactly what they end up costing.... so there is no point to have insurance in the first place; just open up a savings account (which one should do, anyways).

The problem with discrimination is that it is a slippery slope of what to pick and where to stop. Of course no system is perfect, just something to think about.

Re:Warning: Anonymously (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 5 years ago | (#26331105)

Exactly! Share the risk. If Anna is twice as likely to develop cancer than Bob, then in order to share the risk, you have to charge Anna twice as much. That evens out the chance of payout per dollar spent. If you charge everyone the same, then Anna has twice as much of a chance of a payout than Bob. Her dollar essentially buys more coverage. THAT's discrimination.

Re:Warning: Anonymously (1)

markdavis (642305) | more than 5 years ago | (#26336163)

That isn't sharing risk, that is *assigning* risk. The problem with that theory is that it isn't fair.

Example- let's say a study shows that people that drink alcohol have a higher overall risk for health costs. So how does one fairly discriminate for health insurance? You can't. Instead, an application might say "do you drink alcohol?". How do you answer that? "yes"? "sometimes?" "never?". The factors are far too complex to simplify; it depends on your weight, your genetics, the exact amount, the frequency, the history, the alcohol content, your diet, the amount of sleep you get, your future behaviour, and any number of other factors. Since that is impossible to determine, one just gets labeled "a drinker". So everyone who "drinks" has to pay an equally higher rate. This also indirectly gives insurance companies the power to try and change behaviour or run your life. And if such information is shared with employers, you can find it difficult to find a job if they want to keep their rates low. And once that information is shared, it can be interpreted by any number of entities in any way they like, with or without your knowledge, consent, or explanation.

This is just one example of any number of ones one can think of.

Re:Warning: Anonymously (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26312611)

Be careful with comparing factors that are choices (smoking) to ones that are not (genetic predisposition to a disease).

Prostate supplement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26311241)

I have been diagnosed with prostate cancer about 1 year ago. Out of 15 samples only 2 came positive in the biopsy. It was caught early. I started to take Prostate-C from www.ambiolife.com. In 6 months my PSA dropped from 5.3 to 4. Doctor advised me to continue with that supplement and monitor PSA in 6 months. Hopefully the information can be of help.

Nothing new? (1)

STFS (671004) | more than 5 years ago | (#26311521)

There are already tests that check for some genetic markers that increase the possibility of prostate cancer. An example is decodeme.com [decodeme.com] , if you take their test you get a genetic profile about yourself with information about a few (34) known diseases and traits. One of them is prostate cancer [decodeme.com] .

It may of course very well be that they have developed an even better indicator of the risk you have of getting prostate cancer... but the article made it sound like this was a completely new thing.

The problem (3, Informative)

Budenny (888916) | more than 5 years ago | (#26311769)

This is an issue for every man over 65 or so. Its an issue for a some men between 50 and 65, and for very few under 50. But if you have a father, its going to be an issue for him.

The problem is that you can diagnose the condition fairly well. You can do PSA tests, particularly free PSA, and you can take biopsies. The thing you can't do is predict very well from these tests how vigorous the cancer is. Now, this might not matter if the treatments were fairly benign, and if they were highly sucessful. But they are not. The side effects of all physical treatments, including radiation, are considerable and very unpleasant in a majority of cases.

They are better than dying of course - death from metastized prostate cancer is very painful and unpleasant. But the problem is, if your cancer is discovered by routine PSA screeing, you don't then know whether what has been discovered is a cancer that you will live with until 90 without noticing, or if its one which if not treated will kill you in a few years. Almost all men die with prostate cancer. Few die of it.

This gives rise to the problem about screening. It could be that the effects of screening will simply be to treat more people who would be better off untreated. So the discovery of a genetic marker is potentially a great step forward. If it can pick people to screen who are really at risk of a galloping form, it will lead to more treatment of those who would benefit, and less of those who don't really need it.

For what it is worth, I had to research this question for someone a few years ago. I came to the conclusion that surgery and radiation and cryo are all dubious in terms of efficacy and very poor in terms of side effects - impotence, incontinence, in the case of radiation, collateral damage to other tissue. My own conclusion was that conformal radiation is the best of the physical measures, but probably the best overall is intermittent hormone ablation.

The cancer grows in the presence of testosterone. If this is blocked, either by the administration of testosterone blocking hormones, or by physical castration, the cancer will cease to grow and will shrink. PSA will fall. Unfortunately after a while, the cancer becomes hormone refractory - it learns to grow in the absence of hormone. This is why hormonal treatments are only temporary. However, if you then turn on testosterone again, the hormone supposedly will be unable to handle it, and will shrink again.

This is what I would do if afflicted. But I know of no studies showing this works, and I've never met anyone who has undergone it. Apparently what you do is total hormone blockade with drugs for about a year or 15 months, then stop and let testosterone production resume. As soon as PSA rises again, go back on the drugs. Its probably very risky. But the alternatives are not very appetizing either.

This is not like appendicitis. Its one of those things where no alternative is good, and what to do depends on your judgment of risks and rewards. Very tough. My friend by the way had a biopsy. He was free of cancer. But the act of taking the biopsy under general anaesthetic was not risk free, and produced a total urinary blockage. He was then permanently catheterized, which gradually took a toll on him because of repeated infections, and he ended up dying with MRSA of a failing heart. Whether to find out for sure if you have it is not a simple decision.

Re:The problem (1)

Johnno74 (252399) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317241)

Hmmm I'd hate to think what the rest of your body would be like after going from 0 to 100 and back again on the testosterone tap every few months.

I'm imagining very hairy saggy man-boobs :(

Re:The problem (1)

Budenny (888916) | more than 5 years ago | (#26318061)

Its not every few months. The time between recurrences is said to be in years. Its certainly true that total cessation of testosterone must be unpleasant. Though probably bearable if you know its only for a year or so. It has its own dangers also, notably osteoporosis. However, its not that its good. Its whether it may be the best of the alternatives.

Re:The problem (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 5 years ago | (#26317907)

My friend by the way had a biopsy. He was free of cancer. But the act of taking the biopsy under general anaesthetic was not risk free, and produced a total urinary blockage.

I'm very sorry to read about your friend's bad luck. I can tell you, though, from personal experience, that having it done with just a local has its own drawbacks. I was told that it might sting a little. Long before it was over, I was screaming in pain loudly enough for them to hear me in the waiting room. When it was over, I was too shockey to get up, and a nurse finally took my blood pressure: 70/20. It was almost an hour before I dared try to stand. I suspect that nobody would enjoy reading about the various symptoms that accompanied my recovery, so I'll be kind and omit them.

No, I didn't have prostate cancer, as it turns out, and I'm glad to know that. I do, however, have it examined once a year. It's still enlarged, but at least it's not getting any worse.

Don't like the new test (1)

Nigel_Powers (880000) | more than 5 years ago | (#26312151)

The "old" test was much more enjoyable -- especially since my doctor is female!

Prostate is not just affected by cancer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26313541)

I'm 45 and have been dealing with trouble urinating "like usual" for the last 2-3 years. Everything started about 2-3 years before that, with me becoming intermittently aware of my urethra (as silly as it sounds) when going to the bathroom... The frequency of this "awareness" becoming, well, more frequent as time passed. I did not understand what was happening and when I initially mentionned it to my GP, she called me a hypocondriac (the bitch).

Whilst I cannot accept that 80% of men will develop some affliction of the prostate, either cancer, prostitis or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), I cannot deny something happened to me. I'm still unconvinced it is BPH and am still debating if it is not some reaction at having to constantly wear pager+cell because of work... or if it is not some weird "souvenir" my ex-girlfriend gave me, despite testing clean for VDs.

One far-fetched possiblity could be a parasidical origin to my predicament, due to dealing with animals on a daily basis. Something even more "out there" could be that I'm paying the price for eating almost only frozen foods for years after my wife died because I was too depressed to cook for myself. Heck, my cats ate better than me.

My point is: don't think only others have prostate or kidney conditions. It can also happen to you, even if you are in good shape. I was in good shape before I was forced to go solo, so how could I get really sick, right? More importantly, be aware that it's not always cancer, it could be something else that could be easily cured... if properly diagnosed.

My other point is don't take 'no' from your doctor, don't let them bully you out of testing by calling you a hypocondriac. Bully THEM into *LISTENING* to what you have to say and TO TAKE YOU SERIOUSLY. The sooner your body is checked when you feel something's not right, the better.

One last thought: I find disturbing to observe so many otherwise healthy male individuals fall prey to various stupid diseases when they hit 40-something (prostate, kidneys, etc.). I mean, it's like there was a whole series of design flaws in the human anatomy... or like if we were not meant to live beyond 35-38. That very last thought is actually scary, I'd say.

It now feels that men like my last uncle in Switzerland, who was still downhill skiing & hiking until the day he died at 80-something, are in a minority.

Remember - it's all about relative risk (1)

clint999 (1277046) | more than 5 years ago | (#26316383)

One thing to keep in mind... I think any type of genetic testing or screening should be done anonymously. If you test positively for being at risk for any disease, and that information is entered into a computer, there is a risk that information can be used against you later. Insurance companies and employers would love nothing more than to discriminate against people who have POTENTIAL problems. Even worse, a genetic fingerprint can make its way into some security database without your knowledge or con

Significantly easier? (1)

clint999 (1277046) | more than 5 years ago | (#26316789)

Compare this to the tests available for BRCA, the so called Breast Cancer genes. Finding you have the gene can be devastating, but knowing well in advance of developing cancer allows many more options to be considered.
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