Annual prostate cancer screening not needed for most men, but some can still benefit

Jan 6, 2012

There's more evidence that most men don’t need an annual prostate cancer screening.

Washington University chief urologist Dr. Gerald Andriole has been leading a clinical trial involving more than 75,000 men over the age of 55.

The study has tracked the men for over a decade, to see whether getting an annual prostate-specific antigen, or PSA test, makes someone less likely to die from prostate cancer.

Andriole says that for most men, it doesn’t – but says some men should still get tested.

"African Americans, men with a strong family history of prostate cancer, and the youngest men, men in their early 50s who are healthy, those are the men who do indeed benefit from PSA testing.”

Andriole says for most men, the odds of dying from prostate cancer are low.

In fact, Andriole says for older men with slow-growing tumors, the side effects of aggressive prostate cancer treatment – like urinary incontinence and sexual dysfunction – may not be worth it.

Andriole does recommend that all men get a baseline PSA test sometime in their 40s and discuss with their doctor whether any further testing is needed.