The UK NSC recommendation on Prostate cancer screening/PSA testing in men over the age of 50
Find general information about population health screening.
More about Prostate Cancer
The prostate is a small gland in the pelvis that's found only in men. It's located between the penis and the bladder and surrounds the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the penis. The main function of the prostate is to help in the production of semen. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. It is responsible for 25% of newly diagnosed cases of cancer in England and Wales. The chances of developing prostate cancer increase as you get older. Most cases develop in men aged 65 or older.
» Read more about prostate cancer on NHS Choices
» Read more about prostate cancer on Cancerbackup
Why is screening not recommended by UK NSC?
The UK NSC does not recommend universal screening of men for prostate cancer because:
- The test for prostate cancer is not effective enough and does not identify a large proportion of men who in fact have prostate cancer.
- A positive test will lead in most cases to a biopsy, which often does not give a definitive answer and leads to anxiety and to further investigations.
- Current research indicates for every 100,000 men at age 50 offered screening, 748 would end up being treated. The men accepting screening would have their lives extended on average by a day – while 274 men would be made impotent, 25 incontinent and 17 would have rectal problems as a result of the treatment.
• The British Association for Cancer Research
• British Association of Urological Nurses
• The British Association of Urological Surgeons
• Cancer Black Care
• Cancer Research UK
• The Prostate Cancer Charity
• Prostate Cancer Support Federation
• Prostate Scotland
• Prostate UK
• Royal College of Physicians
• Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh
• Royal College of Surgeons
The stakeholder groups will be involved when the recommendation is next reviewed.
If you think your organisation should be added, please
More about the recommendation review process, including the role of stakeholders,
can be found in the guide to Engaging with the UK NSC's recommendation review process.
Option appraisal: screening for prostate cancer (update - March 2013) (PDF document, 1.13MB, 27/03/13)
More optionsGo to top