According to the Mayo Clinic, prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in men. Prostate cancer usually grows slowly, and initially remains confined to the prostate gland, where it may not cause serious harm. A simple cancer screening test—like the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test, which looks for signs of prostate cancer—could save your life.
Prostate cancer screening tests are not appropriate for everyone. Current recommendations for prostate cancer screening are largely based on a man’s age and risk factors. The American Urological Association’s guidelines are as follows:
- PSA screening in men under age 40 years is not recommended; routine screening in men between ages 40 to 54 years at average risk is also not recommended. Additionally, routine PSA screening is not recommended in men over age 70 or any man with less than a 10-15 year life expectancy.
- Shared decision-making is recommended for men age 55 to 69 years that are considering PSA screening, and proceeding based on patients’ values and preferences.
- To reduce the harms of screening, a routine screening interval of two years or more may be preferred over annual screening in those men who have participated in shared decision-making and decided on screening.
Health Advocate offers the following resources so you can learn more about prostate cancer and early detection:
The Prostate Conditions Education Council (PCEC) can help you locate a screening facility near you. Go to http://www.prostateconditions.org/screening-site/. Many hospitals offer periodic free cancer screening. Check with your local hospital to see if they offer this service.
The American Cancer Society provides information about early detection for prostate cancer and who may be at greater risk. To learn more, go to http://www.cancer.org/cancer/prostatecancer/moreinformation/prostatecancerearlydetection/prostate-cancer-early-detection-finding-prostate-cancer-early
The Prostate Cancer Foundation provides information about the disease, treatment options, clinical trials, information for families and caregivers, and much more. To learn more, go to http://www.pcf.org/site/c.leJRIROrEpH/b.5814039/k.9645/For_Families_and_Caregivers.htm
The National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health offers what you need to know about prostate cancer staging tests, treatment, and questions to ask the doctor. Visit http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/prostate
There are also prostate cancer support groups that offer a variety of resources to men and their families. For example, Us TOO http://www.ustoo.com/ helps men and their families make informed decisions about prostate cancer detection and treatment through support and education.
Talk to your doctor about whether getting a prostate cancer screening test is right for you. Don’t have a doctor lined up? If you’re a Health Advocate member, call us today to speak to a Personal Health Advocate who can help you locate an in-network, local, primary care physician, plus help you schedule an appointment and/or transfer your medical records.