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Prostate Cancer Screening Guidelines

Medical opinions vary widely on the role prostate cancer screening should play in prostate cancer care. At Mays Cancer Center, home to UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson Cancer Center, you can trust our experts to base their recommendations on leading cancer research.

We understand prostate cancer screening recommendations can be confusing. Many men seek out our team’s guidance on prostate cancer screening for this reason. We assess your risk using leading screening tools, and we work with you to find an approach that feels right for you.

What you need to know about prostate cancer and screening

  • Prostate cancer is a type of genitourinary cancer that affects the prostate, a walnut-sized organ that’s part of the male reproductive system. Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers affecting men today, second only to skin cancer.
  • Some prostate cancers grow slowly and pose little threat to your long-term health. Other forms of prostate cancer require more aggressive treatment.
  • Our team includes doctors who specialize in prostate cancer. We take the time to discuss all your screening options, helping you weigh the risks and benefits. We consider leading science and your personal preferences to help you decide on a screening approach that works for you.  
  • If you have prostate cancer, you can trust our team of nationally recognized prostate cancer experts. Other South Texas centers refer complex cases to us for our expertise in treating prostate cancer. See why men continue to choose our genitourinary cancer program for second opinions on prostate cancer care.

Schedule your prostate cancer screening today

To get more information about our services or schedule a prostate cancer screening with one of our doctors, contact us at 210-450-1000.

Prostate cancer screening guidelines

Knowing your body (and what’s normal for you) can help you spot potential health problems at early stages, when symptoms might not be so obvious. If you notice something that feels “off,” like a change to your urination habits, see your doctor for an evaluation.

Men in midlife

We recommend men in their 40s, 50s and 60s discuss the risks and benefits of prostate cancer screening with a doctor they trust.

If you decide screening is right for you, your doctor may recommend one or a combination of tests to detect prostate cancer:

  • Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test is a blood test that measures the levels of a specific protein in your blood. Elevated levels could indicate cancer or another health problem.
  • Digital rectal exam is a physical exam (sometimes called a finger test). A doctor inserts a gloved finger into the rectum to assess the prostate gland for potential signs of cancer.

Your doctor may recommend continued screening or further tests based on your test results. Learn more about how our renowned experts diagnose and treat prostate cancer.

Men in older life

We recommend men in their 70s or older talk with their doctor to consider whether prostate cancer screening offers benefits.

Based on scientific evidence, we generally recommend against prostate cancer screening for men 85 and older.

Men at increased prostate cancer risk

Certain risk factors can increase the chances some men will develop prostate cancer. This includes men who:

  • Have a close family member (a father, brother or uncle) affected by prostate cancer
  • Are African American

Having one or more risk factors does not guarantee you will get prostate cancer. This information does help our doctors weigh the benefits of screening for you. 

Men who have above-average prostate cancer risk may benefit from screening at an earlier age. Your doctor may also recommend more frequent screening tests.

We recommend most men at higher risk start prostate cancer screening at age 40, using a combination of PSA blood tests and digital rectal exams.

Men who have had prostate cancer are more likely to have it again (called a recurrence). Our prostate cancer specialists tailor a plan to your unique screening needs and situation.