There is a lot of conflicting advice about prostate cancer screening. A recent U.S. Preventative Services Task Force recommendation against prostate-specific antigen testing, regardless of age, has added to men's confusion about how to protect themselves from a cancer that hits roughly 240,000 new patients every year and claims 28,000 lives.
Mayo Clinic urologists recommend a personalized approach to determining whether or not a patient should consider PSA screening for prostate cancer. This approach should begin at age 40 and include:
* Individual and family medical history.
* The patient's age, recognizing the age-related increase in cancer risk.
* The patient's ethnic background, noting that African-American men have the highest risk of prostate cancer.
* A discussion of the pros and cons of PSA screening.
* Other medical conditions that can affect PSA score.
Organizations that recommend PSA screening generally encourage the test between ages 40 and 75 and in men with a higher risk of prostate cancer, says Mayo urologist Jeffrey Karnes, M.D.
"It may be a simple test but it's not a simple decision," Dr. Karnes says. "A PSA test is something you should decide after discussing it with your doctor, considering your risk factors and weighing your personal preferences."
Cancer overall is the No. 2 health threat to men. June is Men's Health Month, highlighting health issues of particular concern to men and strategies for prevention and treatment.
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