Sheldon Marks, MD: Prostate cancer can have a significant hereditary component. Men whose fathers, brothers, uncles grandfathers have had prostate cancer, they're at significantly higher risk for prostate cancer.The majority of men who were diagnosed, though, don't have it in the family. So just because your father uncle brother doesn't have it doesn't mean you're free and clear.But if he does have it, then your risks are higher and you just need to be more diligent when you see your doctor.It's essential that when you go to the doctor you explain that you're at a higher risk, that you want a prostate exam and you want the PSA blood test.Many doctors, even aware of that, still are reluctant to do a prostate exam because not only is it uncomfortable for a few seconds to have some strange doctor do the exam,but the doctors don't enjoy it either.So a lot of doctors unfortunately will spend hours listening to every body part and probing every orifice except they won't do a prostate exam. So you almost have to insist on it.It may be life or death. And not only does a rectal exam identify prostate nodules or irregularities, but rectal cancers.Recently there was a celebrity on the news with an anal cancer.Rectal and anal cancers are very deadly when not picked up early and it's so easy to detect that it's almost disastrous when the doctor doesn't do the exam.So when you go to the doctor, you need to have an understanding of what it is you expect. Otherwise, why are you even there?