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Prostate Cancer Screening

Overview

The prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test can help find prostate cancer early. But it may not help you live any longer than if you had no screening. And it could lead to harmful treatments that you don't need.

Talk with your doctor about your health, your risk factors for prostate cancer, and the pros and cons of PSA testing. The choice is up to you.

Experts have set up guidelines to advise men about prostate cancer screening. These guidelines are based on a man's age and his risk of getting prostate cancer. Some things that put men at a higher risk include:

  • Being African American.
  • Having a father or brother who had prostate cancer before age 65.
  • Knowing that a gene change, such as BRCA, runs in his family.

Most experts agree on the following age-related recommendations:

Age 40 and under.

These men aren't advised to get the PSA test. Testing in this age group causes more harm than good.

Age 40 to 54 years.
  • Men at average risk aren't advised to get the PSA test. Testing in this age group causes more harm than good.
  • Around age 45, men at higher risk may want to talk with their doctors about the pros and cons of testing before they decide whether to get the PSA test.
Age 55 to 69 years.

Men who are thinking about getting the PSA test are advised to talk with their doctors about the pros and cons of testing before they decide whether to get the PSA test.

Ages 70 and older.

Most men aren't advised to get the PSA test. Testing in this age group causes more harm than good.

Credits

Current as of: December 17, 2020

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Christopher G. Wood MD, FACS - Urology, Oncology