Prostate cancer screening includes a PSA blood test and a digital rectal exam performed by a physician. It does not diagnose prostate cancer but may determine if a man is at increased risk for having prostate cancer. If it is determined that a man is at increased risk then a prostate biopsy would be performed.
Men should discuss prostate cancer screening with their doctor.
Men with risk factors for prostate cancer (i.e. family history and/or African-American) might consider having a PSA test at age 40. If the PSA is less than 1.0 obtain next PSA at age 45; If the PSA is higher than 1.0 repeat PSA annually
Men without risk factors for prostate cancer should begin testing at age 50. If the PSA is greater than 1.0 or if there are voiding symptoms test annually.
One of the many challenges for men diagnosed with prostate cancer is deciding on a treatment. With low-stage disease one option may be active surveillance which means no surgery or radiation but followed carefully with PSA testing and perhaps a repeat biopsy.
The most common treatments include surgery to remove the prostate or external beam radiation therapy. Removal of the prostate still leaves radiation therapy as an option should it be discovered the patient has locally-advanced disease.
Dr. Pat Fulgham discusses prostate cancer screening