When should men get screened for prostate cancer?

6:15 PM, Mar 23, 2011   |    comments
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St. Louis, MO (KSDK) - Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in men. A simple blood test called the PSA can screen for it, but the latest studies show the test doesn't lower the death rate from prostate cancer.

NewsChannel 5's Kay Quinn explains whether men still need a PSA test in tonight's "8 Ways to Prevent Cancer" segment.

"We are really looking at starting our investigation into whether they have prostate cancer around the age of 40," said Dr. Gerald Andriole, a urologist with the Siteman Cancer Center.

If you're a man, you still need a PSA test. But doctors now caution against waiting until you're 50 for your first blood test. Your first PSA screening should now be done in your 40s. Another big change: after getting that first reading, expect to fall into one of two groups.

"For young men whose PSAs are 0.7 or higher in their 40s, we recommend they get testing every year or every two years and a decision to do a biopsy to look for prostate cancer should be based on the rise of their PSA," Andriole said.

But for men in their 40s with PSA numbers below 0.7, doctors now feel comfortable checking PSA every five years. Making a decision on how often to screen is very individual, so be sure to discuss it with your physician. Dr. Andriole believes the new recommendations will go a long way to cut down on what the medical community calls "over-detection" of prostate cancer.

"This will do a lot of increase the efficiency of PSA testing," Andriole said.


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