- When Should You Screen
- Screening Tests
- Repeat Screening
When should you screen for prostate cancer?
Screening for prostate cancer helps detecta tumor early, enabling timely treatment and prevention of any complications. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), the decision to get screened should be made by men in consultation with their doctor. The doctor needs to counsel the men about the uncertainties involved in the screening process, the risks and potential benefits of getting screened for prostate cancer. The risks for prostate cancer include:
- Age: The chances of getting prostate cancer increase with age. Most experts recommend considering screening when a man is in his 50s.
- Race: African American men are at a greater risk of developing prostate cancer.
- Family history: There is a higher risk of prostate cancer in men who have a close family member (father, uncle or brother) diagnosed with prostate cancer at an early age (younger than age 65).
- Heredity: Certain genetic conditions may increase the risk of prostate cancer.
- Diet: Men who have a diet rich in animal fats and low in fruits and vegetables may have greater chances of getting prostate cancer.
You must ask your doctor about getting screened for prostate cancer if
- You are in your 50s and have an average risk of prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is usually slow growing. Thus, men who do not have any symptoms of prostate cancer and do not have a life expectancy of at least 10 years may not be screened since they are not likely to benefit.
- You are 45 years old and are at high risk of developing prostate cancer. High-risk groups include African Americans and men who have a first-degree relative (father or brother) diagnosed with prostate cancer at an early age (younger than age 65).
- You are 40 years old and have an even higher risk of prostate cancer. This includes people who have more than one first-degree relative who was diagnosed with prostate cancer at an early age.
If a man is not able to decide whether they should go for screening after a discussion with their doctor, the doctor can recommend screening keeping in mind the man’s general health preferences and values. Most health experts recommend that screening should not be done if a man is around the age of 70 years old or if he has other serious medical conditions that limit his life expectancy.
Which test is done for screening of prostate cancer?
There is no single, standard test for screening for prostate cancer. The screening commonly is done with the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test. This test measures the blood levels of PSA, which is a substance made by the prostate. An ultrasonography may be done if PSA values are dubious. Another commonly used test that may be done for screening is the digital rectal examination or DRE. During a DRE, the doctor inserts a gloved, lubricated finger into a man’s rectum and feels the prostate for anything abnormal, such as cancer.
Should I get screened again for prostate cancer if my first screening came back negative?
If screening revealed that you do not have prostate cancer, you need to get repeat screening based on the results of the PSA blood test.
- If your PSA was less than 2.5 ng/mL, you may need to be retested every two years.
- If your PSA level was 2.5 ng/mL or higher, you need to be screened annuallyfor prostate cancer.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
American Cancer Society
Top When Should You Screen for Prostate Cancer Related Articles
Early-Stage Prostate Cancer Treatment
If prostate cancer is detected early and appears to be slow-growing, invasive procedures, chemotherapy, radiation and other approaches can sometimes do more harm than good. Many prostate cancer treatments come with side effects, like incontinence or impotence, so it’s in the patient’s interest to put off invasive treatments as long as is medically safe. Active surveillance is where doctors "watch and wait" for changes that could prompt medical intervention.
How Is Prostate Cancer Diagnosed?
Prostate cancer is largely a disease of men over 40, so it’s around this age doctors recommend the first prostate screening. The first exam is a blood test to determine if there are abnormal prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels in your blood – PSA is produced by the prostate. If the PSA is high, your doctor will perform a digital rectal exam, during which the doctor feels your prostate from inside your rectum with a gloved finger. Other diagnostic tests include an endoscopic biopsy of tumor tissue for analysis in a lab.
Prostate CancerProstate cancer is the most common cancer in men after skin cancer. Risk factors include age, family history, ethnicity, and diet. Prostate cancer is diagnosed by digital rectal exam, prostate specific antigen (PSA) test, and prostate biopsy. Symptoms may include frequent need to urinate, incontinence, pain, blood in the urine, fatigue, and more. Prognosis and treatment depend on cancer staging. Watchful waiting, surgery, radiation, cryotherapy, and other management strategies are available. Research and clinical trials strive to find new and better treatments for prostate cancer.
Prostate Cancer QuizIs prostate cancer the most common cancer in men? Take this quiz to find out and learn the causes, symptoms and treatments of this disease.
Prostate Cancer Treatment: Chemotherapy, Bone-Targeted and Immune Therapy
Doctors may introduce chemotherapy and immune therapy if other measures fail to cure a case of prostate cancer. However, unlike with other forms of cancer, chemotherapy isn’t the first choice for early prostate cancer. Immune therapy uses the body's own immune system to attack the prostate tumor, while bone-targeted therapy aims to preserve bone and prevent metastasis.
Prostate Cancer SlidesProstate cancer is the most common cancer in men. Learn the signs and symptoms of prostate cancer, along with causes and treatments. Know the stages, survival rates and lower your risk of prostate cancer.
Prostate Cancer (Prostatic Cancer) Symptoms and Causes
Difficulty with urination – frequency, weak stream, trouble getting started, etc. – is usually the first sign of prostate cancer. But these and other early symptoms of prostatic cancer can also come from benign prostate conditions, so diagnostic testing is important, including PSA tests and digital rectal exam.
Prostate Cancer Treatment: Radiation, Brachytherapy and Radiopharmaceuticals
Radiation treatment for prostate cancer is a powerful tool at doctors’ disposal. Using radiation vs. surgery or other invasive treatments to kill cancer cells may still cause side effects, but ideally they are less severe. Radiation therapy can be performed via external beam therapy (EBRT) or the placement of radioactive seeds into the prostate (prostate brachytherapy) or using radioactive drugs (radiopharmaceuticals).
Prostate Cancer Treatment: Radical Prostatectomy Surgery
Radical prostatectomy, or surgical removal of the entire prostate gland, isn’t typically the first choice in prostate cancer treatment. Sometimes a radical approach is necessary to keep the cancer from metastasizing, however. Some cases are too severe or diagnosed too late for drugs or radiation to have much effect. In these cases, treatment teams may opt for a radical prostatectomy, despite potential side effects like impotence and incontinence.
Prostate Cancer ScreeningProstate cancer screening may be able to detect cancer before a person has developed any symptoms. Prostate cancer is the most common nonskin cancer among American men. Tests commonly used to screen for prostate cancer include a digital rectal exam and a prostate-specific antigen test (PSA test).
Prostate Cancer Staging and Prognosis
The prognosis for prostate cancer, as with any cancer, depends on how advanced the cancer has become, according to established stage designations. The patient's PSA score at diagnosis, as well as their Gleason score (the grading system used to determine the aggressiveness of prostate cancer) determines the prognosis and final stage designation. Prostate cancer has a high survival rate in general, but your chances depend on the stage of the cancer.
Prostate Cancer Treatment: Hormonal Therapy
Prostate cancer is highly sensitive to, and dependent on, the level of the male hormone testosterone, which drives the growth of prostate cancer cells. Testosterone belongs to a family of hormones called androgens, and today front-line hormonal therapy for advanced and metastatic prostate cancer is called androgen deprivation therapy (ADT).