Prostate Cancer Screening: Questions for the doctor
Prostate cancer is a type of cancer that is most common in older men. After skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the United States.
Even though prostate cancer is common, screening (testing) for it is not recommended for most men.
Many men have questions about prostate cancer. The information below can help you start a conversation with your doctor or nurse.
What is the prostate?
The prostate is a small gland in men. It makes a fluid that carries sperm. It’s located below the bladder and in front of the rectum.
Who is at risk for prostate cancer?
Any man can get prostate cancer. But the risk is higher for men who:
- Are age 50 or older
- Are African American
- Have a father, brother, or son who had prostate cancer
Why isn’t routine screening for prostate cancer recommended?
Routine screening for prostate cancer isn’t recommended because the potential risks outweigh the benefits for most men.
- Most of the time, prostate cancer grows so slowly that men won’t die from it or have any symptoms.
- The screening tests for prostate cancer that are available now can’t tell if you have a cancer that will cause problems or not.
- The results of prostate cancer screening tests can sometimes be wrong.
- Treatment for prostate cancer is more likely to cause medical problems than prostate cancer itself.
What do I ask the doctor?
Here are some questions you may want to ask:
- Am I at higher risk for prostate cancer?
- Are there things I can do to lower my risk for prostate cancer?
- What are the risks and benefits of prostate cancer screening and treatment for me?
- Are there any warning signs or symptoms of prostate cancer I should look out for?