Who Should Be Screened For Prostate Cancer?

By: Jessa Goddard
By: Jessa Goddard

Knoxville (WVLT) - Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in men, but there is still a lot of disagreement over who needs to be screened and how often.

Medical reporter Jessa Goddard has more on what you don't know that can kill you.

There is a lot we still don't know about prostate cancer. We don't know what causes it, or how to prevent it, but we do know some men are at a greater risk for getting it.

Jack Evans doesn't fall into any of the categories that put him at risk for prostate cancer. Still, he followed his doctor's orders and received a screening when he turned 50 and every year after that. For 10 years his tests came back normal, until 2001 when he received an unexpected call.

"But the doctor called me and said you've got cancer," Evans said.

Like many men with prostate cancer, Jack had no symptoms. He had no family history and is white. Still, he learned his prostate cancer was growing quickly and threatening to spread beyond the prostate gland to other parts of the body.

"Unfortunately, mine was the most serious. On a scale of one to 10, mine was a 10," Evans said.

Thanks to early detection and treatment, Jack Evans calls himself a prostate cancer survivor today. UT Medical Center Urologist Doctor Fred Kline says about one in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime, but only one in 34 will die of the disease.

"If you look at autopsy studies, if you live to be a hundred, virtually you've got a 90 to 100 percent chance of having some cancer in your prostate gland," Dr. Kline said.

Most medical experts recommend all men who have a life expectancy of at least 10 years be given a prostate specific antigen test and digital rectal exam annually, beginning at age 50. Age 40 for African-American men and men who have a father or brother with the disease.

Some medical experts don't recommend regular screening because they say there's no convincing evidence that finding early stage prostate cancer and treating it saves lives. Know your risk factors for prostate cancer and the pros and cons of screening. The decision is up to you and your doctor.

Doctors have known for some time obese men tend to have lower PSA scores than normal weight men, but a new study finds doctors may be missing prostate cancer in obese men because of it. One in three Americans is obese, making these findings very important.

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