Prostate Cancer Screening Exams

How often you get tested for prostate cancer depends on your chances for getting the disease.

Having one or more risks for prostate cancer does not mean you will definitely get the disease. It means that you may be more likely to get prostate cancer. If you are at increased risk for prostate cancer, you may need to start screening exams at an earlier age. Look at the lists below to find out if you are at average or increased risk for prostate cancer.

The guidelines below are for men without any prostate cancer symptoms. If you have any symptoms, you should see your health care provider as soon as possible.

Average Risk

Men at average risk include those who:

  • Have no family history of prostate cancer
  • Are not African American

If you fit this description, you should follow the screening schedule below.

Age 50 and older, you should:

  • Discuss screening risks and benefits with a health care provider
  • If screening is desired, get a digital rectal exam and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test every year

Increased Risk

Men at increased risk have a higher chance of getting prostate cancer than those at average risk. Men at increased risk include those who:

  • Have a family history (especially father, brother, son) of prostate cancer
  • Are African American

If you fit one of the items in the list above, you should follow the screening schedule below.

Age 45 and older, you should:

  • Discuss screening risks and benefits with a health care provider
  • If screening is desired, get a digital rectal exam and prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test every year

These screening guidelines apply to men who are expected to live for at least another 10 years. The guidelines are not for men who have a health condition that would make it hard for a health care provider to diagnose or treat prostate cancer.