Health screenings are a personal decision. It’s up to each individual to decide whether or not a preventive health screening is right for them. It’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor about your health and potential risk factors for disease, but the decision to seek a screening on your own is yours to make.
In honor of Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, we wanted to touch on the issue of understanding when you should have a prostate cancer screening. Should you be screened? Or should you wait? Within the medical community, there is no unanimous opinion regarding the benefits of prostate cancer screening, according to the Prostate Cancer Foundation.
At Life Line Screening, we follow the PSA screening guidelines set by the American Cancer Society, which say the following individuals should consider a prostate cancer screening:
Men 50 to 69 who are at average risk for the disease
Men who are 45 years of age and at higher risk either because they are African-American or have a father, brother, or son diagnosed with prostate cancer before age 65
Men who are 40 years of age with several first-degree relatives (father, brothers and/or sons) with prostate cancer. This is the highest risk group.
*Screening recommendations for prostate cancer vary among healthcare organizations. Please consult with your physician.
A PSA screening is a simple blood test that measures the amount of prostate-specific antigen (PSA), a protein produced by the prostate gland. An abnormal PSA result is only one indicator of prostate cancer. Further testing, including repeat PSA testing and/or a digital rectal exam (DRE) is often required. The only definitive way to confirm a diagnosis is with a transrectal ultrasound-guided prostate biopsy, which will assign a Gleason score or “grade” to the cancer. This score helps physicians to determine what stage and how advanced the cancer is and assess the need for treatment.
Not everyone is a candidate for a prostate cancer screening. It’s important to factor in your own risk factors for the disease. Modern methods of detection allow for prostate cancer to be spotted earlier and therefore treated more effectively. The earlier prostate cancer is diagnosed, the better the chances of successful treatment.
You can learn more about the prostate cancer screening offered by Life Line Screening to see if it’s right for you today.