Should I Be Screened for Prostate Cancer?
Physicians may recommend a prostate cancer screening program to men who have an elevated risk for developing the condition. Men ages 55-69 should have a conversation with their doctor about the risks and benefits of prostate cancer screening. Others may begin screening a few years earlier if they are African American/black, have a family member with prostate cancer, or another similar risk factor. However, prostate cancer screenings are rarely necessary for men under the age of 40, unless otherwise indicated by their overall health status and history.
Screening Tests for Prostate Cancer
A prostate cancer screening may incorporate one or both of the following tests:
- A digital rectal exam (DRE), which allows a physician to manually assess the size of the prostate and check for any abnormal lumps. Should an unusual growth be found, the physician may request a transrectal or transperitoneal biopsy to help determine the nature of the cells.
- A prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test, which measures levels of PSA in the blood. Higher PSA levels may be indicative of prostate cancer, although elevated PSA levels may also result from other non-cancerous conditions. If a patient’s PSA test results are unusually high, a physician can order additional tests to determine the cause.
The goal of these prostate cancer screening techniques is to identify potentially cancerous growths early on in their development, when the tumors are most responsive to treatment and the prognosis is most favorable. Men may also choose to participate in screenings to take a more proactive role in their health care and gain valuable peace of mind.
Moffitt Cancer Center's Approach to Prostate Cancer Screening
At Moffitt Cancer Center, we offer a wide range of care for prostate cancer. If you’re concerned about your prostate cancer risk, or if you already had a PSA elevation or abnormal DRE or both, please contact our oncologists to discuss next steps.
Medically reviewed by Monica Chatwal, MD.