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Should I Get Screened for Prostate Cancer?

Photo of a man looking at a laptop computerLearn about prostate cancer and talk to your doctor before you decide to get tested or treated.

In 2018, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) made the following recommendations about prostate cancer screening

  • Men who are 55 to 69 years old should make individual decisions about being screened for prostate cancer with a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test.
  • Before making a decision, men should talk to their doctor about the benefits and harms of screening for prostate cancer, including the benefits and harms of other tests and treatment.
  • Men who are 70 years old and older should not be screened for prostate cancer routinely.

This recommendation applies to men who—

  • Are at average risk for prostate cancer.
  • Are at increased risk for prostate cancer.
  • Do not have symptoms of prostate cancer.
  • Have never been diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Other organizations, like the American Urological Association, the American Cancer Society, and the American College of Physicians may have other recommendations.

Talk to Your Doctor

If you are thinking about being screened, you and your doctor should consider—

  • If you have a family history of prostate cancer.
  • If you are African-American.
  • If you have other medical conditions that may make it difficult for you to be treated for prostate cancer if it is found, or that may make you less likely to benefit from screening.
  • How you value the potential benefits and harms of screening, diagnosis, and treatment.

Facts About Prostate Cancer Screening

  • For every 1,000 men between the ages of 55 and 69 years old who are screened, about 1 death will be prevented, and 3 men will be prevented from getting prostate cancer that spreads to other places in the body.
  • Many men with prostate cancer never experience symptoms and, without screening, would never know they had the disease.
  • Half of men who die from prostate cancer are 80 years old or older.
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