Experts at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center advise men to keep a record of their prostate specific antigen (PSA) test results to help determine if they are at increased risk for prostate cancer.
“Recent reports have debated the usefulness of the PSA test, but men should not write off this exam,” says John W. Davis, M.D., assistant professor in MD Anderson’s Department of Urology.
“It’s still an effective way to track trends in your prostate over time,” he says. “Doing this increases the chances that your doctor will find prostate cancer as early as possible, when it’s most successfully treated.”
Most men age 50+ should get tested
The prostate specific antigen, or PSA, test is a simple blood test. It measures the amount of PSA in a man’s bloodstream. PSA is a protein produced by the cells of the prostate gland.
“Starting at age 40, all men should talk to their doctor about the PSA test,” Davis says.
Recent guidelines by the American Cancer Society stress that men should talk to a doctor before getting tested. A doctor can explain the possible benefits and risks of prostate cancer screening and treatment.
MD Anderson recommends that men age 50 and older, with no family history of prostate cancer, get a prostate cancer screening exam every year. African-American men and men with a family history of prostate cancer should begin annual screening exams at age 45. Both a digital rectal exam and a PSA blood test should be performed.
Source: University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center