Prostate cancer is the most common [non-skin] cancer in men. Therefore, it’s important to know some facts about prostate cancer screenings to make sure you, or the males in your life, are getting screened for prostate cancer in a timely manner.
Early Detection of Prostate Cancer Changes Outcomes for Patients!
Many perfectly healthy men are screened for prostate cancer as part of their regular health care routine. Doctors sometimes recommend testing simply because of age or family history. Other times, patients have some symptoms, and their doctor may suggest a prostate cancer screening as the first step to understanding the problem.
Watch the video below to learn more about the importance of screening for prostate cancer and guidelines for when men should get screened.
3 Prostate Cancer Screening Guidelines That Men Should Follow:
1. Symptoms are Present
Sometimes men experience symptoms associated with prostate cancer, but those same symptoms can also occur in non-cancer-related conditions such as an enlarged prostate ("BPH"). When a patient visits their general practitioner or urologist with concerns, a prostate cancer screening is a very common part of the diagnosis process – even if the diagnosis isn't cancer.
2. Family History
Between 5-10% of prostate cancers are hereditary. Men are at risk of developing prostate cancer if another male in their family has been diagnosed with prostate cancer previously. A genetic test is not yet available to screen for prostate cancer risk, but your doctor may suggest a PSA test if the disease exists in your immediate family.
The ACS suggests screening for men over 45 years old if they have one family member who was diagnosed with prostate cancer at a relatively young age (under 65 years old). Men with two or more family members who developed prostate cancer should be screened once they reach the age of 40. Also, African American men have a higher risk of developing prostate cancer, and the ACS recommends that they be screened beginning at the age of 45.
When found at an early stage, prostate cancer treatments have a much higher success rate. This is why prostate cancer screenings are regularly done on patients who have no symptoms or immediate family history of prostate cancer. The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends screening for men over the age of 50 who have no unusual prostate cancer risk factors.
It’s important for men to talk with their doctors to make an informed decision on when they should start prostate cancer screenings. After the initial screening, their doctor will also make recommendations on how often to continue follow-up screenings.
Reduce Your Risk of Prostate Cancer
Although there is no proven method to prevent prostate cancer, there are some healthy steps you can take to help reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer.
- Eat healthy! Some studies have shown that eating a lot of fish, and specific vegetables may lower the risk of developing prostate cancer.
- Get active! Studies have shown that men who engage in regular exercise have a slightly lower risk of prostate cancer.
- Be weight conscious! The American Cancer Society recommends staying at a healthy weight.
To learn more about prostate cancer screenings, ask your doctor for a referral to your local prostate cancer specialists. If you are located in or around Hampton Roads, Virginia, Northeast North Carolina, or the surrounding areas and would like to make an appointment with one of our prostate cancer specialists, please contact Virginia Oncology Associates for an appointment.
If you or a loved one has recently received a diagnosis of prostate cancer, our oncologists are here to help you through your journey. With cancer treatment centers located throughout Virginia, you'll find advanced and personalized treatment plans, expert guidance from specially trained and board-certified oncologists, and leading-edge cancer research options.
Originally published May 2018. Updated May 2021.