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Early Detection Guidelines for Prostate Cancer

Not all prostate cancer diagnoses are the same, so it is important to learn more about early detection for the disease. Since some prostate cancers may grow slowly without causing harm, men should be fully informed on the uncertainties, risks and potential benefits of cancer screening before making a decision to undergo testing for prostate cancer.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) does not recommend all men be tested for prostate cancer. However, depending on a man’s age and health, the ACS recommends the discussion occur:

  • At age 50 for men who are at average risk of developing prostate cancer and are expected to live at least 10 more years.
  • At age 45 for men at high risk of developing prostate cancer. This includes African Americans and men who have a first-degree relative (father, brother or son) diagnosed with prostate cancer at an early age (younger than age 65).
  • At age 40 for men at even higher risk, such as those with more than one first-degree relative who had prostate cancer at an early age.

While screening is crucial for cancer detection there are some limits in screening for prostate cancer. Because the two tests most commonly used in screening are not 100 percent accurate, early testing for prostate cancer can be difficult.

Doctors commonly use a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test or a digital rectal exam (DRE) to test for prostate cancer. If abnormal results are detected, a biopsy is completed to determine if cancer is present. However, PSA and DRE tests can sometimes give false positives and false negatives.

Factors that could increase a man’s risk of developing prostate cancer include age, family history and ethnicity. Age is the strongest factor in prostate cancer risk. Nearly two-thirds of prostate cancer occurs in men over age 65. Family history of the disease is another factor. Though the cause is unknown, prostate cancer is also found more commonly in African American men than in other races.

Columbus CyberKnife treats prostate cancer using advanced CyberKnife® technology. Find out more about how prostate cancer can be treated in five or fewer treatment sessions here.

This is not intended as medical advice to replace the expertise and judgment of your health care team. It is intended to help you and your family make informed decisions, together with your doctor.