American Cancer Society Recommendations for Prostate Cancer Early Detection

By American Cancer Society of San Antonio
Thursday, June 14, 2018

A new study released in March found that many men receiving prostate specific antigen (PSA) testing do so without a comprehensive shared decision-making process, contrary to current guidelines. The American Cancer Society study, appearing in Annals of Family Medicine, finds that in both 2010 and 2015 about six in 10 men who reported recent PSA testing said they had received at least one component of shared decision making with their healthcare providers. Meanwhile, only 1 in 10 with no PSA test reported receiving any component of shared decision making in both 2010 and 2015.

The American Cancer Society recommends that men have a chance to make an informed decision with their healthcare provider about whether to be screened for prostate cancer. The decision should be made after getting information about the uncertainties, risks and potential benefits of prostate cancer screening. Men should not be screened unless they have received this information. The discussion about screening should take place at:

  • Age 50 for men who are at average risk of prostate cancer and are expected to live at least 10 more years
  • Age 45 for men at high risk of developing prostate cancer. This includes African Americans and men who have a first-degree relative (father, brother or son) diagnosed with prostate cancer at an early age (younger than age 65)
  • Age 40 for men at even higher risk (those with more than one first-degree relative who had prostate cancer at an early age)

While recommendations for PSA testing have changed in the past several years, there is widespread consensus that PSA testing should not occur without shared decision making. As a urology/oncology patient navigator nurse with the San Antonio Military Medical Center (SAMMC) puts it, “People get on the internet and start believing ‘Doctor Google’ instead of what their physicians are saying, so there is a lot of misinformation regarding prostate cancer.”

That’s why it is vital for healthcare providers to keep an open dialogue with their patients about the benefits and limitations of screening for prostate cancer. The patient navigator with SAMMC emphasizes, “It’s crucial physicians get the most up-to-date information and stress to the patient that they must take ownership over their health when it comes to screening for prostate cancer.”

The American Cancer Society’s study concluded that new and innovative strategies are needed to achieve more widespread application of shared decision making for prostate cancer screenings. The good news for physicians or clinicians in San Antonio looking for prostate cancer resources is that there is “a huge commitment from cancer providers to support services for all patients,” the Patient Navigator with SAMMC says. “When it comes to knowledge sharing around prostate cancer, there are a lot of resources and support groups in San Antonio.”

Prostate Cancer Resources for the San Antonio Community: