Men’s Health Month: Understanding Prostate Cancer Screenings

In an effort to increase awareness of men’s health issues, June is designated as Men’s Health Month. This time provides an opportunity for organizations across the country to come together to offer health education, screenings and other resources to men and their families to increase prevention strategies and early diagnosis and treatment of diseases. Prostate cancer is among one of the biggest health concerns for men today.

One way to detect prostate cancer in an early stage is to undergo screenings. 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 an important part of 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 and 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.

Austin CyberKnife treats prostate cancer with stereotactic body radiation therapy using advanced CyberKnife® technology. Find out more about how we treat prostate cancer 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.