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

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

Earlier Start, Stop for PSA Testing?

Prostate Cancer Screening May Start Earlier -- and Stop Sooner

Can PSA Screening Stop at 75?

Since prostate cancer takes a while to develop -- and even longer to become deadly -- there's obviously an age beyond which prostate cancer screening will result in far more risk than benefit. But what's that age?

Sharlip says the rule of thumb is to stop PSA screening when a man's probable life expectancy is less than 10 years.

"With good life expectancy, a man is at risk of prostate cancer and death if he doesn't get his PSA tested," Sharlip says. "But what about a man with rising PSA that's still at a marginal level? That is exactly the situation that is poorly defined."

Help comes from Anna Kettermann and colleagues at Johns Hopkins University. Kettermann and colleagues collected data from 849 men participating in the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging.

Eighteen of the men died of prostate cancer. Not even one had a PSA under 3.0 ng/mL. Moreover, men with PSA levels this low had virtually no chance of serious prostate cancer or PSA levels that later soared.

"We wanted to look for the men who have PSA values that will never bring them to the condition that prostate cancer will kill them," Kettermann tells WebMD. "If a man is old and has a low PSA and a history of low PSA, he is unlikely to develop high-risk disease."

Sharlip warns that the findings are not necessarily dire for elderly men with PSA levels above 3 ng/mL.

"I follow these men carefully, get a PSA test every three months, and if I see the PSA turning up I recommend a biopsy," he says. "In a number of these elderly men I find only low-risk prostate cancer, so I don't treat them -- as it turned out, they didn't need the biopsy. But more than occasionally I find intermediate- or high-grade prostate cancer, and those are the men we want to know about."

1 | 2 | 3

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