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Answer to your Health Question

Question:

Do I need a digital rectal examination DRA and a prostate gland PSA tests?

I am 57 years old and healthy.

Keith

Answer:

Dear Keith,

There is no clear evidence that the decrease in deaths from prostate cancer is due to early detection and treatment based on PSA or due to other factors.

In fact, in numerous studies, men who get screened have not been shown to live longer than men who don't.

The majority of prostate cancers are found in men age 65 years or older.

The option to have PSA testing begins at age 40 and continues until you're at the age when your life expectancy is 10 years or fewer. Once you reach that age, the likelihood that a prostate cancer would progress and cause problems during the remainder of your lifetime is small.

You may end up with a diagnosis of prostate cancer that is not a threat to your health and doesn't require treatment. This can cause anxiety and unnecessary testing with risks of pain, bleeding and infection.

False-positives in PSA tests are common. Only about one in four men who have a positive PSA test turns out to have prostate cancer.

 

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