For some men, inherited genetic factors may put them at higher risk of prostate cancer if:
  • You have more than one first-generation relative (father, son, or brother) who had prostate cancer, including three generation relatives on your mother’s or father’s side of the family.
  • You were diagnosed with prostate cancer when you were 55 years old or younger.
  • You were diagnosed with prostate cancer, and other members of your family have been diagnosed with breast, ovarian, or pancreatic cancer.

Different people have different symptoms of prostate cancer. Some men do not have symptoms at all. If you have any of the following symptoms, be sure to see your doctor right away:

  • Difficulty starting to urinate
  • Weak or interrupted flow of urine
  • Frequent urination, especially at night
  • Difficulty emptying the bladder completely
  • Pain or burning during urination
  • Blood in the urine or semen
  • Pain in the back, hips, or pelvis that doesn’t go away
  • Painful ejaculation

Keep in mind that these symptoms may be caused by conditions other than prostate cancer.

Cancer screening means looking for cancer before it causes symptoms. The goal of screening for prostate cancer is to find cancers that may be at high risk for spreading if not treated, and to find them early before they spread.

There is no standard test to screen for prostate cancer. Two tests that are commonly used are: a blood test called a Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) and a rectal examination. PSA is a substance contained in the prostate and the levels of PSA in the blood can be higher in men with prostate cancer. Other conditions that affect the prostate may also result in elevated PSA levels.

The recommendations for prostate cancer screening are:

  • Men who are 55 to 69 years old should decide to be screened for prostate cancer with a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test.
  • Before deciding, men should talk to their doctor about the advantages and disadvantages of screening for prostate cancer, including the benefit or otherwise of other tests and treatment.
  • Men who are 70 years old and older should not be screened for prostate cancer routinely.

This recommendation applies to men who:

  • Are at average risk for prostate cancer.
  • Are at increased risk for prostate cancer.
  • Do not have symptoms of prostate cancer.
  • Have never been diagnosed with prostate cancer.