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Who should be screened for prostate cancer?

The prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test can help find prostate cancer early. But it may not help you live any longer than if you had no screening. And it could lead to harmful treatments that you don't need. Talk with your doctor about your health, your risk factors for prostate cancer, and the pros and cons of PSA testing.

The choice is up to you

Experts have set up guidelines to advise you about prostate cancer screening. These guidelines are based on your age and your risk of getting prostate cancer.

Some things that may put you at a higher risk include:

  • Being African American
  • Having a family member who had prostate cancer before age 65
  • Knowing that a gene change, such as BRCA, runs in your family.

Most experts agree on the following age-related recommendations:

Age 40 and under

  • The PSA is not recommended for this age group. Testing may cause more harm than good.

Age 40 to 54 years

  • If you are at average risk, you aren't advised to get the PSA test. Testing in this age group may cause more harm than good.
  • If you are around age 45 and at higher risk, you may want to talk to your doctor about the pros and cons of testing before you decide whether to get the PSA test.

Age 55 to 69 years

  • If you are thinking about getting the PSA test, talk to your doctor about the pros and cons before you decide.

Ages 70 and older

  • The PSA test usually isn't recommended. Testing in this age group may cause more harm than good.

© 2016-2021 Healthwise, Incorporated. This information does not replace the advice of a doctor.

Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) Testing

This test checks a man’s blood for high PSA levels, a marker for prostate cancer. High PSA levels also can indicate other conditions, including inflammation or infection of the prostate. Certain medicines, a patient’s medical history, and an enlarged prostate also can affect PSA levels.

What is prostate cancer?

Prostate cancer is the abnormal growth of cells in a man’s prostate gland. This gland is a small, walnut-shaped organ and lies just below the man’s bladder. It usually grows slowly and can take years to grow large enough to cause any problems. Need help finding cancer care and treatment? Call us.