Aside from non-melanoma skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men in the United States. This year, more than 174,600 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, and more than 31,600 die from the disease.
All men are at risk for prostate cancer. Out of every 100 American men, about 13 will get prostate cancer during their lifetime, and about 2 to 3 men will die from prostate cancer. The most common risk factor is age. The older a man is, the greater the chance of getting prostate cancer. Some men are at increased risk for prostate cancer. You are at increased risk for getting or dying from prostate cancer if you are African-American or have a family history of prostate cancer.
Screening for Prostate Cancer
Cancer Screening means looking for cancer before it causes symptoms. The goal of screening for prostate cancer is to find cancers that may be at high risk for spreading if not treated, and to find them early before they spread.
A blood test called a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test measures the level of PSA in the blood. PSA is a substance made by the prostate. The levels of PSA in the blood can be higher in men who have prostate cancer. The PSA level may also be elevated in other conditions that affect the prostate.
As a rule, the higher the PSA level in the blood, the more likely a prostate problem is present. But many factors, such as age and race, can affect PSA levels. Some prostate glands make more PSA than others.
PSA levels also can be affected by—
- Certain medical procedures.
- Certain medications.
- An enlarged prostate.
- A prostate infection
Because many factors can affect PSA levels, your doctor is the best person to interpret your PSA test results. If the PSA test is abnormal, your doctor may recommend a biopsy to find out if you have prostate cancer.
If you are 50 years or older, or have a family history of Prostate Cancer, talk to your doctor to learn what is involved, and decide if a PSA test is right for you.