When to get screened for prostate cancer

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer for men in the U.S., second only to skin cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, there are almost 165,000 new cases of prostate cancer diagnosed each year, and it’s estimated that 1 in 9 men will be diagnosed with it in their lifetime. While prostate cancer cannot be prevented, it can be treated, with the effectiveness of that treatment improving if the cancer is caught early. That’s why it is recommended that those at risk for developing prostate cancer get a screening to check for any signs of developing cancer.

Here at Peninsula Radiation Oncology Center, we know that when it comes to battling cancer, information is a great weapon to have, so you can know exactly what you’re up against and what you need to do to come out on top.


While approximately 60% of all prostate cancer cases are found in men that are over the age of 65, research shows that the chance of developing prostate cancer increase dramatically after the age of 50. Since other risk factors such as ethnicity, family history, and geography can increase the chance of developing prostate cancer, most physicians recommend that men start scheduling regular screenings by the age of 40.

If you are aware that you are at a higher risk of developing prostate cancer, have a discussion with your physician to determine if you should start getting screenings earlier.


There are two main types of prostate cancer screening, with each having a different approach to identifying potential signs of developing cancer in the prostate. The type of prostate screening provided can vary on a case-by-case basis and is determined by your doctor. Note that after the tests, the results will not show if you have prostate cancer or not. Other tests will be required (if necessary according to your doctor) to confirm any diagnosis.

Digital Rectal Exam (DRE)

The Digital Rectal Exam is a simple test that is designed to estimate the size of the prostate to determine if it is enlarged, while also checking for other abnormalities such as lumps that could be early signs of prostate cancer. The DRE consists of a doctor or nurse inserting a gloved, lubricated finger in the rectum to apply pressure to the prostate gland and check for those abnormalities.

Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) Test

PSA is a special protein that is only produced by the tissues in the prostate, and can be found in semen or circulating in the blood. The PSA screening involves measuring the level of PSA present in the blood, since higher levels of PSA indicate a higher chance of prostate cancer being present. A prostate that is free of cancer will have a PSA level that is lower than 4 nanograms per milliliter of blood; those with levels around 10 ng/ml of PSA have a 25% of having early stages of cancer. However, certain factors such as a patient having other medical procedures, taking medication, or suffering from an enlarged prostate can all increase PSA levels.

What Happens After A Prostate Cancer Screening?

If the doctor or nurse that perform your prostate cancer screening finds anything abnormal in the results, they will usually recommend that you get another test to confirm if there is prostate cancer present. These other tests can consist of an ultrasound, MRI, or biopsy, all of which can give the doctor and patient a clear diagnosis. Just remember that abnormal results with your prostate cancer screening are not a diagnosis for cancer,and just indicate that further tests are needed.


If you have any questions about the screening process, just contact us at Peninsula Radiation Oncology Center. We’ve been helping patients from all over the world battle against a wide range of cancer conditions for years, providing professional radiation therapy and treatment support out of our local office here in Soldotna, AK. We look forward to providing you with the assistance and support that you need for all of your cancer related questions and treatment needs.