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Risks and Benefits of Screening for Prostate Cancer

For the general population of men, there is a one in seven chance of being diagnosed with prostate cancer, so it’s important to be aware of your options.

Screening: Safe and Painless Way to Detect Prostate Cancer

A simple blood test called a prostate specific antigen test (PSA) and a digital rectal exam (DRE) are currently the best screening methods available for prostate cancer. Prostate cancer screening is safe and painless and can detect prostate cancer early, when it is most treatable.

However, prostate cancer screening is not for everyone. You should know:

  • Some prostate cancers are slow-growing and there is a chance that slow-growing disease may never affect a man’s health
  • Prostate cancer screening detects the presence of cancer; it will not show if a cancer is slow-growing or aggressive. Only a qualified physician can make that determination
  • Treatment can be life-saving. However, it may cause temporary or long-lasting side effects, such as incontinence or erectile dysfunction
  • If a screening shows you have prostate cancer, it’s important to talk with a prostate cancer specialist who can help you evaluate your options and make the choice that’s right for you.

Before you decide to be screened, talk with your doctor about whether and when prostate cancer screening is right for you. If you don’t have a doctor, please call 1-800-DOCTORS. We’ll be happy to help.

Prostate Cancer Screening Guidelines

Specialists in the Prostate and Urologic Cancer Program encourage all men at risk for prostate cancer to consider appropriate screening. Men considering prostate cancer screening should first talk with their personal physicians about the risks and benefits, and whether screening is right for them.

The following guidelines are based on National Comprehensive Cancer Network recommendations for prostate cancer screening. 

If you are at higher risk – African American or have a family history of the disease (a father or brother who has had prostate cancer) – you may need to be screened at an earlier age. Be sure to talk with your doctor about these risk factors.

  •  All men ages 45 – 49: Talk with your doctor about a baseline screening. 
  •  Men ages 50 – 70: Talk with your doctor about testing every one to two years. 
  •  Men older than 70: Talk with your doctor about risks and benefits of continued screening.

Make a Prostate Screening Appointment Today

We make screening easy. Free prostate cancer screening is available to our patients at our Froedtert Hospital campus Monday through Friday, 52 weeks a year. 

Eligible men may call to reserve a time. To schedule an appointment, call 414-805-3666 or 800-272-3666. During the screening, our expert staff will check each patient’s PSA level (a blood test that looks for the level of prostate-specific antigens that may indicate cancer) and examine the prostate gland free of charge.

Test Your Knowledge

Do you think you’re well-informed about prostate health? Test your knowledge by taking this prostate health quiz.