PSA Test: Not Just for Old Men - Dr. David B. Samadi

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PSA Test: Not Just for Old Men

For most men, prostate cancer isn’t a concern until after the age of 55. And while the majority of prostate cancer diagnoses occur amid that age group, prostate cancer does get diagnosed in men much younger than that. Current governmental guidelines may give a false sense of security in younger men who are quick to believe prostate cancer is an “old man’s disease”. The truth is, prostate cancer can strike at any age, it does not discriminate, and early detection is our best defense against this silent killer. Early detection happens through screening and the PSA (prostate specific antigen) blood test.

In the last 20 years, we've seen a six-fold increase in younger men with aggressive prostate cancer. Studies have shown that there is s correlation between younger men developing aggressive prostate cancer, especially when those men had a family history of prostate cancer – one of the risk factors of the disease. Researchers found that when prostate cancer strikes at a younger age, it's likely because the tumor is growing quickly. It seems the younger the man, the more severe the prostate cancer and the higher mortality rate. Between the ages of 35 and 44, men are nearly one and a half times more likely to die from the cancer than men between the ages of 64 and 75.

These fast-growing tumors in young men can be missed due to current U.S. Preventive Task Force screening guidelines discouraging men below the age of 55 from getting a baseline PSA blood test. This can be extremely problematic, as prostate cancer often has no symptoms. Until we get improved diagnostic testing, younger men need to be encouraged to understand their risk factors when it comes to prostate cancer, and get screened. The importance of being your own healthcare advocate, regardless of general guidelines, cannot be stressed enough. Knowledge really is power in the fight against prostate cancer.

There is nothing more important than prostate cancer screening. The goal of screening for prostate cancer is to find it early, in the hope that it can be treated more effectively. When found early and contained within the prostate, there is a cure rate of almost 100% for prostate cancer. Taking screening seriously is taking your life seriously. Know the facts, know your risk, and don’t think that you are immune to a diagnosis just because you don’t fall under the USPTF recommended screening guidelines yet. Get out there and know your number.

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