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Prostate Cancer Screening (PDQ®): Screening - Patient Information [NCI] - What is screening?

Screening is looking for cancer before a person has any symptoms. This can help find cancer at an early stage. When abnormal tissue or cancer is found early, it may be easier to treat. By the time symptoms appear, cancer may have begun to spread.

Scientists are trying to better understand which people are more likely to get certain types of cancer. They also study the things we do and the things around us to see if they cause cancer. This information helps doctors recommend who should be screened for cancer, which screening tests should be used, and how often the tests should be done.

Recommended Related to Prostate Cancer

Understanding Prostate Cancer -- Diagnosis & Treatment

Two tests are used to look for prostate cancer: a digital rectal exam and a PSA blood test. The PSA blood test looks for something called prostate-specific antigen in the blood. Who should have a PSA test and when is controversial: The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force does not recommend regular PSA tests. The task force say the tests may find cancers that are so slow growing that treatment, which can have serious side effects, would offer no benefit. The American Cancer Society (ACS)...

Read the Understanding Prostate Cancer -- Diagnosis & Treatment article > >

It is important to remember that your doctor does not necessarily think you have cancer if he or she suggests a screening test. Screening tests are given when you have no cancer symptoms. Screening tests may be repeated on a regular basis.

If a screening test result is abnormal, you may need to have more tests done to find out if you have cancer. These are called diagnostic tests.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

    Last Updated: May 28, 2015
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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