When can you stop being checked for prostate cancer?

Your current health and your level of concern about cancer are both big factors in the answer to this question.

Despite what the experts suggest, many men are continuing to opt for annual PSA tests. Surprisingly this includes a large number of men in their 70s. According to a recent study, more than half of a group of men 75 and older in the study had PSA tests and biopsies.

Even though these men have placed their hope in the value of early diagnosis and treatment, they stand to gain less from PSA testing than younger men. Routine PSA screening across ALL ages leads to life-saving treatment for cancer in about one in every 1,000 men screened.

Guidelines for ages

American Urological Association (AUA) age guidelines: The AUA does not recommend routine PSA screening for men 70 or older or with a life expectancy of less than 10 to 15 years. Screening may be considered in men ages 55 to 69 with the knowledge that it will prevent about one cancer death for every 1,000 men screened.

Expert guidelines don’t recommend PSA screening in men 70 and older. Because of their more limited lifespan, these men are less likely to benefit from early detection of low-risk cancer. One reason is that there may be simply less time for the condition to become life threatening in most men.

American Cancer Society (ACS) age guidelines:
The ACS does not recommend PSA testing for men with no symptoms who are not expected to live more than 10 years (because of age or poor health).

Having a chronic health condition also reduces the potential benefit of early diagnosis and treatment even further, since it tends to shorten lifespan. In contrast, an exceptionally healthy man in his 70s may choose to keep having PSA tests, betting on a longer life-span that provides more time to benefit from early detection.

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