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A gene associated with improved calcium absorption may increase the chances a man will receive a positive prostate cancer test, according to a new study out of the University of Southern California.
Higher levels of calcium in a man's body have long been known to be associated with an increased risk of developing prostate cancer. However, the reasons for this association were poorly understood. The researchers said their new findings may help explain the situation.
The team's study of 783 African-American men revealed that those who did not have the gene variation for improved calcium absorption were 59 percent less likely to develop prostate cancer. Comparatively, those who simply consumed low levels of calcium had a reduced risk of only 50 percent.
Lead researcher Gary Schwartz said that identifying those who have this genetic risk factor could lead to improvements in the prevention of prostate cancer. If an individual knows that he is a good absorber of calcium he can then take steps to limit his intake of the nutrient, thereby reducing his risk of developing the disease.
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