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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 you about prostate cancer screening. These guidelines are based on your age and your risk of getting prostate cancer.

Some things that may put you at a higher risk include:

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

Most experts agree on the following age-related recommendations:

Age 40 and under.

The PSA is not recommended for this age group. Testing may cause more harm than good.

Age 40 to 54 years.
  • If you are at average risk, you aren't advised to get the PSA test. Testing in this age group may cause more harm than good.
  • If you are around age 45 and at higher risk, you may want to talk to your doctor about the pros and cons of testing before you decide whether to get the PSA test.
Age 55 to 69 years.

If you are thinking about getting the PSA test, talk to your doctor about the pros and cons before you decide.

Ages 70 and older.

The PSA test usually isn't recommended. Testing in this age group may cause 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