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Prostate Cancer Screening Exams

Prostate cancer screening exams help find prostate cancer at its earliest stage. When found early, the chances for successfully treating the disease are greatest.

Along with regular exams, practice awareness. This means you should be familiar with your body. That way you’ll notice changes, like irregular urination. Then, report them to your doctor without delay.

The screening recommendations below apply to most men.

Age 50 to 75

  • Discuss screening risks and benefits with a health care provider
  • Digital rectal exam every year, if you choose to be screened
  • Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test every year, if you choose to be screened

If you’re age 76 or older, your doctor can help you decide if you still need prostate screening. MD Anderson doesn’t recommend cancer screening for men age 85 or older.

Exams for men at increased risk

Men at increased risk are more likely to get prostate cancer.

This doesn’t mean you’ll definitely get cancer. But, you may need to start screening at an earlier age, get additional tests or be tested more often.

You’re at increased risk if you fall under one or more of these groups:

  • Family history (especially father, brother, son) of prostate cancer
  • African-American

Follow the screening schedule below if you’re at increased risk:

Age 40 to 75

  • Discuss screening risks and benefits with a health care provider
  • Digital rectal exam every year starting age 45, if you choose to be screened
  • Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test every year starting at age 45, if you choose to be screened

Exams for men who’ve had prostate cancer

If you’ve had prostate cancer, you need a different plan to check for cancer recurrence.

Print and share MD Anderson’s survivorship chart with your doctor. Your doctor can use this chart to develop a more tailored screening plan for you.

The screening plans on this page apply to men expected to live for at least 10 years. They’re not for men who have a health condition that may make it hard to diagnose or treat prostate cancer.


© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center