When To Start PSA Screening?

Last Modified: March 1, 2011

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Question

Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"

If I have no family history of cancer of any kind - do I really need to have a PSA? And at what age?

Answer

Alan J. Wein, MD, Professor and Chair of the Division of Urology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, responds:

There is some disagreement about this. My felling is age 50, age 40 for African American and those with a history of a first-degree relative having had prostate cancer.

John Christodouleas, MD, Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology at Penn Medicine, responds:

When to start PSA screening or whether a man should be screened by PSA at all is a major controversy in our field. Fortunately, there are two very large screening studies (one from the U.S. and one from Europe) that will give us valuable information to help guide men in the future. Until we get long-term results from these studies, men should take time to discuss the pros and cons of PSA screening with their primary care doctors.

This question and answer was part of the OncoLink Brown Bag Chat Series. See the full transcript of Prostate cancer treatment: where are we now?


News
Other study finds that before 2008 guidelines, health and life expectancy affected PSA screening

May 18, 2010 - Men with low-risk prostate cancer on active surveillance generally have favorably low anxiety and distress in the first nine months of surveillance, according to research published in the May issue of The Journal of Urology. Another article in the same issue examines how health status and life expectancy influenced selection of men age 75 and older for prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screenings before the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommended against screening them.



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