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Prostate Cancer

The UK NSC policy on Prostate cancer screening/PSA testing in men over the age of 50


Type Adult
Last review completed December 2010
Next review due in 2013/14
Policy recommendation     Systematic population screening programme not recommended

The UK NSC does not recommend screening men for prostate cancer. The reasons for this are given below.

PSA (prostate specific antigen) testing can, however, be performed on request. Information is provided on the risks and benefits by the Prostate Cancer Risk Management Programme.

Key downloads Last external review - Review against UK NSC criteria
Policy recommendation statement

What is screening?

Screening is a process of identifying apparently healthy people who may be at increased risk of a disease or condition. They can then be offered information, further tests and appropriate treatment to reduce their risk and/or any complications arising from the disease or condition. It is important to ensure that the benefits and downsides of screening have been properly thought through. The UK National Screening Committee (UK NSC) is responsible for reviewing screening policies every 3 years and making recommendations to ministers in the 4 UK countries about whether to not a screening programme for a certain condition should be set up.

» Find out more about screening, the role of the UK NSC or the policy review process

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.

position of the prostate

Image © Clinical Skills Ltd and provided courtesy of Cancerbackup.

» Read more about prostate cancer on NHS Choices

» Read more about prostate cancer on Cancerbackup

Policy stakeholders

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 policy is next reviewed. If you think your organisation should be added, please contact us. More about the policy review process, including the role of stakeholders, can be found in the guide to Engaging with the UK NSC's policy review process.

Related documents

icon Option appraisal: screening for prostate cancer (update - March 2013) (PDF document, 1.13MB, 27/03/13)
icon Prostate cancer screening recommendation statement (PDF document, 71KB, 30/09/14)

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