Prostate cancer affects one in every six men in the U.S. Roughly 90% of all prostate cancers are detected in the early stages when tumors are confined within the prostate, making the cure rate promising.
Prostate Cancer Screening
The prostate-specific antigen blood test (PSA) is used to detect early prostate cancers before symptoms are shown. The American Cancer Society recommends you talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of the screening to decide if it is appropriate for you. This discussion should take place at the following ages:
- 50 for men at average risk of prostate cancer and are expected to live at least 10 more years.
- 45 for men at high risk of developing prostate cancer. This includes African Americans and men who have a first-degree relative (father, brother, or son) diagnosed with prostate cancer at an early age (younger than age 65).
- 40 for men at even higher risk, or those with more than one first-degree relative who had prostate cancer at an early age.
Your doctor may also recommend a digital rectal exam (DRE) to check for enlargement of the prostate gland.
There are both risks and benefits to PSA screening and different organizations vary in their recommendations. You should make informed decisions based on available information, discussion with your doctor, and your personal risk factors.
If your PSA level is high, your doctor may advise either waiting a while and repeating the test, or getting a prostate biopsy to find out if you have cancer.
Prostate Cancer Prevention
There is no clear recommendation for preventing prostate cancer; however, there may be factors related to body weight, physical activity and diet that can affect your risk. For more information, visit the American Cancer Society.