Men who are experiencing any symptoms of prostate cancer should see a doctor and discuss The prostate is a walnut-sized gland located between the bla... Full Definition Cancer is a group of diseases where cells grow abnormally an... Full Definition testing.
Guidelines from nationally recognized prostate cancer societies and associations generally agree that men in their 50s and 60s should consult with their physician regarding their individual risks and benefits for prostate cancer screening. Although there isn’t clear consensus from the medical community, men between the ages of 40 and 50 whose doctors consider them at high risk, and men older than 70 in good health, maybe considered candidates for prostate cancer screening.
There’s a lot to weigh as you consider whether or not to test.
- Younger men in their 40s or 50s might consider screening if they have a father or brother who has had prostate cancer because this puts them at higher risk for the disease.
- Black men may also want to consider screening because evidence shows that they have an elevated risk for the disease.
- Obese men over 50 also have an elevated risk of aggressive prostate cancer, and may want to consider discussing testing with their doctor.
- Older men in their 60s and 70s may consider screening if they are in very good health and could benefit from treatment because they expect to live another 10 years or more.
- Men with a family history of inherited gene changes that can cause cancers such as prostate cancer (e.g. BRCA1, BRCA2 or Lynch syndrome)
After screening, however, hindsight becomes 20/20, as they say. There are more factors to consider than risk alone when deciding about prostate cancer testing.
It is important to understand that once screening is complete, a positive test result may lead to more testing. There are several tests available that help your doctors confirm whether or not cancer is present and, if so, get a detailed view of features of the cancer, such as its size and location.
Some of these tests will also help doctors determine the cancer’s grade and stage. Some cancers are indolent, the couch potatoes of prostate cancer. These cancers are small and grow slowly. Other forms of the disease are aggressive, the go-getters that are likely to grow fast and spread.
The more you understand about your cancer, the better off you will be. You’ll be able to make confident decisions about when, how, and how much treatment you want to undergo. These decisions are very personal. Your care team can inform you and guide you, but it is your life and your lifestyle that hang in the balance.