Mayo Clinic on Prostate 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.
For Men's Health Month, a Mayo Clinic expert weighs in on the debate by recommending a personalized approach that 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 as well as for younger men with a higher risk of prostate cancer, according to Mayo urologist Jeffrey Karnes, MD. A release from the clinic quotes Dr. Karens as saying, "It may be a simple test but it's not a simple decision. A PSA test is something you should decide after discussing it with your doctor, considering your risk factors and weighing your personal preferences."