USPSTF releases new finalized recommendations for prostate cancer screening

Task force joins Prevent Cancer Foundation® and other leading cancer organizations in recommending shared decision-making between men and their doctors

Published on May 11, 2018

Updated on March 26, 2019

ALEXANDRIA, Va., May 11, 2018 – The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) yesterday released new finalized recommendations on prostate cancer screening with the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test, which measures the level of PSA in the blood of men. The recommendations say that for men ages 55 to 69, prostate cancer screening is up to the individual, and each man should discuss the potential benefits and harms of screening with his doctor. The USPSTF gives screening for this age group a “C” rating.

The USPSTF recommends against PSA-based screening for prostate cancer in men ages 70 and older.

Men with prostate cancer will usually have elevated PSA levels, though high PSA levels can also be caused by several non-cancerous conditions, such as an enlarged prostate (BPH). Early detection of prostate cancer followed by prompt treatment saves lives, but some men are treated for prostate cancer that will never cause them harm, and they must live with any side effects or complications of the treatment.

The USPSTF’s new recommendations are a positive change from their 2012 recommendations, which gave a “D” rating to men ages 55 to 69, and said that any potential benefit from the PSA test was outweighed by possible harms. The change in recommendation is based in part on additional evidence that shows PSA-based screening for prostate cancer in this age group prevents 1.28 men from dying of prostate cancer for every 1,000 men screened, and prevents three men of every 1,000 men screened from developing metastatic prostate cancer.

The Prevent Cancer Foundation® commends the USPSTF for finalizing this recommendation. If you are at average risk for prostate cancer, the Prevent Cancer Foundation® recommends you begin talking to your health care professional about the pros and cons of screening at age 50.

If you are at increased risk of prostate cancer, start this conversation with your doctor earlier. 

About The Prevent Cancer Foundation®
The Prevent Cancer Foundation® is one of the nation’s leading voluntary health organizations and the only U.S. nonprofit focused solely on cancer prevention and early detection.  Founded in 1985, it has catapulted cancer prevention to prominence and fulfills its mission through research, education, outreach and advocacy across the country.


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