Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Font Size

Prostate Screening Every 4 Years Works

Study Backs Prostate Cancer Screening at 4-Year Intervals
WebMD Health News

Sept. 30, 2003 -- Screening men for prostate cancer every four years is enough to catch the vast majority of cancers, a new European study shows.

Researchers found very few aggressive prostate cancers slipped through the cracks, and a four-year interval between prostate cancer screening tests was adequate to detect most cancers.

When to Screen for Prostate Cancer

The study, published in the Oct. 1 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, looked at the number of cancers detected between screening visits among the 17,226 men ages 55 to 74 enrolled in the European Randomized Study of Screening for Prostate Cancer (ERSPC).

Researchers say that the occurrence of interval cancers is used to determine whether the screening tests are sensitive enough and screening interval is appropriate.

About half of the men were randomly assigned to a screening group that received a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test, a digital rectal exam, and a rectal ultrasound exam every four years. The other men received no prostate cancer screening.

A total of 412 prostate cancers were diagnosed in men after the first round of screening, and during the following four years 18 additional cancers were detected.

In contrast, 135 cancers were detected during the same follow-up period among those who did not receive prostate cancer screening.

Screening Works

Researcher Ingrid W. van der Crujisen-Koeter, MD, of Erasmus MC, University Medical Center in Rotterdam, Netherlands, and colleagues say the low number of prostate cancers detected between screenings shows that the screening procedures were about 86% sensitive and the schedule was appropriate.

In addition, the cancers that were detected during the interval among the screening group were at earlier stages and had not spread, which suggests that "very few, if any aggressive prostate cancers escape screening with the procedure used within the ERSPC."

Today on WebMD

man with doctor
Symptoms, risks, treatments
man coughing
Men shouldn’t ignore
prostate cancer cells
What does this diagnosis mean?
doctor and male patient
Is it worth it?
cancer fighting foods
15 Cancer Symptoms Men Ignore
Prostate Enlarged
Picture Of The Prostate
Prostate Cancer Quiz
screening tests for men
Prostate Cancer Symptoms
Vitamin D