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Preventing Prostate Cancer

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Testing for Prostate Cancer continued...

When that discussion should take place is based on a man's age, level of risk, and general health status. Here are the general recommendations about when to consider testing:

  • Men with no symptoms and average risk should discuss screening with their doctor at age 50.
  • Men with higher risk, including African-Americans and men who had a brother, father, or son diagnosed with prostate cancer before age 65, should have that discussion at age 45.
  • Men who have two or more first-degree relatives -- brother, father, or son -- diagnosed with prostate cancer before age 65 should have that discussion when they are 40.

The American Urological Association suggests that men ages 55 to 69 who are considering screening should talk with their doctors about the risks and benefits of testing and proceed based on their personal values and preferences. The group also adds:

  • PSA screening in men under age 40 years is not recommended.
  • Routine screening in men between ages 40 to 54 years at average risk is not recommended.
  • To reduce the harms of screening, a routine screening interval of two years or more may be preferred over annual screening in those men who have decided on screening after a discussion with their doctor. As compared to annual screening, it is expected that screening intervals of two years preserve the majority of the benefits and reduce overdiagnosis and false positives.
  • Routine PSA screening is not recommended in men over age 70 or any man with less than a 10-15 year life expectancy.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, however, doesn't recommend routine PSA screening for men in the general population, regardless of age. They say the tests may find cancers that are so slow-growing that medical treatments -- which can have serious side effects -- would offer no benefit.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Stuart Bergman, MD on September 14, 2015
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