Am I At A Higher Risk?
A man’s decision to have a PSA test should be based on shared decision-making with his doctor, after discussion about potential benefits and harms of testing:
- Most men should consider having a PSA test starting at age 50
- Men at high risk of developing prostate cancer should consider testing starting at age 45
- How often a man gets a PSA test should be based on his PSA levels and may be different for each man
- The decision to stop testing should be based on an individual’s PSA levels, age and life expectancy
Facts and Stats
- Prostate Cancer Foundation BC recommends that every man over the age of 50 start a discussion with their health care provider about having a DRE and a PSA test. Prostate Cancer Foundation BC believes PSA testing should be used as part of "smart screening", a personalized approach where men are tested to establish a baseline number. Subsequent tests are performed to monitor any changes to the baseline. If a change is detected, the patient and his health care provider should discuss a course of action based on his personal risk factors. This could include other diagnostic procedures such as a digital rectal exam, biopsy or even an MRI.
- Prostate cancer is the third leading cause of cancer death in Canadian men (only behind lung and colorectal cancer)
- Prostate Cancer typically afflicts men 50 years of age and older, with the incidence increasing with age. Men with a family history of Prostate Cancer are at increased risk so these examinations and tests should begin at age 45.
- Prostate Cancer has no known causes or prevention.
- Detection and treatment in its earliest stages (while it is still small and confined to the prostate) provides the best chance for a complete cure.
- PSA tests in B.C. are not covered by the Medical Services Plan (MSP). Prostate Cancer is a "silent disease" and the best chance for a cure is through early detection before the onset of symptoms. The PSA test is the single best blood test for detecting tumours in all forms of cancer and should be used in conjunction with the DRE.
- PSA tests are covered if you have a history of Prostate Cancer in your family. Please see your doctor for details.