Understand new guidelines for PSA testing.

In response to a growing debate over the benefits of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing, the American Urological Association (AUA) released new guidelines for prostate screening in May 2013. Findings addressed in this report weighed the potential benefits of PSA screening against the significant downside that can result from testing and treatment.

These recommendations were made to aid urologists and their patients in better understanding the role of PSA testing in reducing death rates from prostate cancer. Some guideline statements made in the report were:

  • Studies have shown that men ages 55 to 69 benefit the most from PSA screening at two- to four-year intervals. Data suggested that one man per 1,000 screened will avert a prostate cancer death over a decade, with the benefit possibly increasing over a lifetime.
  • Men in higher-risk groups (including African-American men or men with a positive family history) could benefit from screening even though they’re younger than the target age range.
  • While the AUA doesn’t recommend screening for men age 70 and older, those who are in excellent health may still benefit. The ratio of benefit-to-harm declines with age; however, evidence exists suggesting that early diagnosis and treatment may help some high-risk men 70 and older.