Screening Tests for Adults (age 50 and above)

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Not everyone in this age group may need screening for every condition listed here. Click on the links above to read more about each condition and to determine if screening may be appropriate for you or your family member. You should discuss screening options with your health care practitioner.

Prostate Cancer

This is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men other than skin cancer: more than 34,000 men in the UK are diagnosed each year.
Current evidence does not indicate that PSA screening of men without symptoms for prostate cancer would reduce mortality. The Department of Health's Prostate Cancer Programme has developed the "Prostate Cancer Risk Management" Programme. Its aim is to ensure that men who are concerned about the risk of prostate cancer receive clear and balanced information about the advantages and disadvantages of the PSA test and treatment for prostate cancer. This will help men decide whether they want to have the test. General Practitioners have received advice about counselling and supplies of patient information sheets. There is also an online decision aid called PROSDEX that describes the facts clearly and will help you understand the advantages and disadvantages of having your PSA measured.

The problems are that screening and treatment may do more harm than good for men who have a slow-growing cancer. Surgery and radiation may be more harmful or debilitating than a slow-growing prostate cancer, causing impotence and incontinence. Current medical tests cannot reliably tell a slow-growing cancer from a fast-growing one. The PSA test does not detect all prostate cancers and has other limitations. More research will help determine the best course of action.