Disease Prevention in Men

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP
    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Dr. Balentine received his undergraduate degree from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. He attended medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine graduating in1983. He completed his internship at St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia and his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx, where he served as chief resident.

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Men's Health Pictures Slideshow: Essential Screening Tests Every Man Needs

Prostate cancer

Prostate cancer is the most commonly occurring non-skin cancer in men in the United States. Among the non-skin cancers, it is also the second most frequent cause of cancer death in this population.

Although screening tests (see below) are available, there is no scientific consensus on effective measures for reducing the incidence of prostate cancer. Additionally, there is no agreement on the effectiveness of screening or that the potential benefits of screening tests outweigh the risks.

Tests or procedures for prostate cancer

Who to test and how often

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has concluded that the current evidence is insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harms of prostate cancer screening in men younger than age 75 years and that screening should not be carried out in men age 75 years or older.

The controversy regarding screening tests

The purpose of the screening is to detect early, tiny, or even microscopic cancers that are confined to the prostate gland. Early treatment of these malignancies (cancers) can stop the growth, prevent the spread, and possibly cure the cancer. However, the evidence is not conclusive that screening and treatment of early and localized prostate cancer is beneficial; some elderly men may live with prostate cancer for many years and die from other conditions rather than from the prostate cancer, and the measures undertaken for diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer (surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or hormones) can have side effects and serious complications such as pain associated with the biopsy procedure, erectile dysfunction, urinary incontinence, bowel dysfunction, and death. For this reason, screening of men over age 75 years is not recommended, and younger men must consider the potential benefits and risks of prostate cancer screening and discuss these with their health care practitioner before undergoing screening tests.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/30/2015
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