April 1st 2005
ABSTRACT: Although the widespread use of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing has led to an increase in the number of cancers detected, controversies about the benefits of screening persist. No conclusive evidence has yet emerged that PSA screening reduces the mortality associated with prostate cancer. Thus, mass screening is not universally endorsed. The American Urologic Association and the American Cancer Society recommend that digital rectal examination and PSA testing be offered annually to men 50 years and older with an estimated life expec- tancy of 10 years or more. High-risk patients (those with a positive family history or those of African American descent) are advised to begin screening at age 45. The decision to screen is based on the patient's preference following a thorough discussion of the benefits and limitations of PSA testing. Refer to a urologist any patient with a PSA greater than 4.0 ng/mL. Also, be alert for high PSA velocity changes in patients undergoing annual screening, and refer those with a PSA velocity of more than 0.75 ng/mL/y.