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The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that men between the ages of 55 and 69 talk to their doctors about what prostate cancer screening choice is right for them. The task force recommends against routine screening for men age 70 and older.
The recommendations apply to all adult men who have no signs or symptoms of prostate cancer and who have never been diagnosed with the disease. It also includes men at increased risk, such as African American men and men with a family history of prostate cancer.
Sometimes prostate cancer has no symptoms. When there are symptoms, they can include:
Tell your doctor if you have these symptoms.
Keep in mind that men can have prostate changes that cause symptoms like those above but aren’t because of cancer. For example, as a man ages, the prostate tends to grow in size. That can decrease urine flow.
Screening tests for prostate cancer include the digital rectal exam and the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test. PSA is made by cells in the prostate gland. It is made by both normal cells and cancer cells. A higher level of PSA may indicate that cancer is present.
PSA tests can help find cancer early, when treatment is most effective. But it can have some drawbacks.
For some men, the downsides of prostate cancer screening outweigh the potential benefits. The Mayo Clinic says the downsides include:
Talk to your doctor about the benefits and risks and make an informed choice.
Most risk factors for prostate cancer, like age, family history and ethnicity, can’t be changed. And whether things like weight, activity levels and diet can significantly lower your risk for prostate cancer isn’t entirely clear.
The American Cancer Society says these healthy lifestyle choices may help lower your risk:
Originally published 7/27/2020; Revised 2022
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