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Prostate Cancer Screening

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Summary

The prostate is the gland below a man's bladder that produces fluid for semen. Cancer screening is looking for cancer before you have any symptoms. Cancer found early may be easier to treat.

There is no standard screening test for prostate cancer. Researchers are studying different tests to find those with the fewest risks and most benefits. One test is the digital rectal exam (DRE). The doctor or nurse inserts a lubricated, gloved finger into your rectum to feel the prostate for lumps or anything unusual. Another test is the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test. Your PSA level may be high if you have prostate cancer. It can also be high if you have an enlarged prostate (BPH) or other prostate problems. If your screening results are abnormal, your doctor may do more tests, such as an ultrasound, MRI, or a biopsy.

Prostate cancer screening has risks:

  • Finding prostate cancer may not improve your health or help you live longer
  • The results can sometimes be wrong
  • Follow-up tests, such as a biopsy, may have complications

You and your doctor should discuss your risk for prostate cancer, the pros and cons of the screening tests, and whether you should get them.

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Related Issues

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Specifics

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  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Cancer Institute) Also in
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Genetics

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Library of Medicine)

Clinical Trials

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Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)

Reference Desk

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  • (American Society of Clinical Oncology)
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