Most prostate cancers are found early through screening. Two types of tests look for possible signs of prostate cancer. The prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test measures the level of PSA in the blood. The digital rectal examination (DRE) is when a doctor examines the rectum and feels the size of the prostate gland. It’s a simple procedure and takes place in a private room.
Though PSA is considered the current standard for prostate cancer detection, researchers are looking for new ways to detect cancer earlier and improve its treatment. In terms of screening guidelines, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends screening men between 55 and 69 but cautions that it should be an individual decision. After age 70, a discussion with your doctor about the need to continue screening should occur. The doctor will consider your age, potential lifespan, and overall health status to determine whether to recommend continued screening. The USPSTF recommendations apply to men who:
Are at average risk for prostate cancer,
Are at increased risk for prostate cancer
Do not have symptoms of prostate cancer
Have never been diagnosed with prostate cancer
Before making a decision, you should talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks of tests and treatment.