When should I begin getting tested for prostate cancer?
August 26, 2021
In this post, we describe different scenarios as to when men should get tested for prostate cancer. The information is not medical advice, as every man’s situation is slightly different. The way to ensure is to speak to a medical professional. Our doctors will determine whether you should be tested free of charge.
Regular and accurate testing for prostate cancer is the best defence we have against prostate cancer. Early detection of prostate cancer leads to significantly better outcomes. Does this mean we should begin testing as early as possible? The answer here is no as prostate cancer in men under the age of 40 is exceedingly rare.
When we say testing to begin, we are referring to the first test in the prostate cancer diagnosis process, a Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) blood test.
The consensus amongst organisation such as the Cancer Council says testing could begin at 50.
“For those who decide to have prostate cancer tests, the general recommendation is to have a PSA blood test every two years from the age of 50…”
More links to other sources can be found at the bottom of the page
We follow the same approach here however we recommend men under the age of 50 also consider their testing options. Here is the approximate decision making our clinicians use.
We agree that from the age of 50 is when the majority of testing should occur. However, we recommend that our members under the age of 50 establish a baseline for their PSA. Establishing a baseline for your PSA allows our doctors and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to analyse a longer, trend when more regular testing begins at 50. When considering the PSA trend, our doctors and AI look for rising PSA values. They also look at how quickly the PSA is rising. Both can tell a story on how the risk is developing more than just a single point in time can. This test is less looking about looking for cancer now, but more about setting a baseline for the individual. Without a baseline test from the ages of 40, it is impossible to understand the trends in a man’s PSA when they reach 50.
How often should I get tested for prostate cancer?
When we say how often, we refer to the frequency of your regular PSA test. The frequency for men that are having follow up tests is different and much higher.
Internationally, the range for testing interval spans from annually to five yearly depending on the patient’s risk factors.
We follow the approach of annual testing for men who are 50 or over, or men who are 40 or over with a family history of prostate cancer. For those men under 50 with no family history, we recommend an update to their baseline PSA test every five years.
This can act as a guide for whether a discussion is required with a doctor that understand the nuances of prostate cancer testing.
Links to further reading
Here are the links to some of the sources we have used in our clinic as well as links to further information from internationally recognised bodies.
- PSA testing strategies
- Prostate Cancer Foundation
- Australia National Health and Medical Research Council
- Royal Australian College for General Practitioners
If you would like that discussion to happen with Australia’s experts in prostate cancer testing, please get in touch with the below form, and we will be happy to assist.