Prostate Cancer Screening

In 2012 the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force determined that men of any age should NOT have prostate cancer screening using the PSA blood test, with or without digital rectal examination. This recommendation was based on evidence that the potential harms of screening outweighed any potential benefit.
• Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in men, but in most cases it does not grow or cause symptoms. Treatment for prostate cancer is often unnecessary.
• The PSA screening test often suggests that prostate cancer may be present when there is no cancer (A “false-positive” result).
o Men with a positive PSA still only have about a 1% chance of having prostate cancer.
• Follow up testing for positive PSA results can cause:
o Worry and anxiety
o Fever, infection, bleeding, urinary problems, pain
o Hospitalization
• Cancers that are detected are often treated because there is no way to currently tell for sure if a cancer is aggressive or not. This means many cancers will be treated unnecessarily with surgery, radiation, and/or hormone therapy. Potential side effects of treatment include:
o Erectile dysfunction (impotence)
o Urinary incontinence
o Problems with bowel control
o A small risk of death and serious complications from surgery
Therefore, prostate cancer screening with a PSA blood test is more likely to cause harm than benefit.
If you have further questions, or feel strongly that you should be screened for prostate cancer, please talk with your doctor.
For more information, please see