The US Preventive Services Task Force has concluded that not enough scientific evidence exists to promote routine screening of all men over age 40 for prostate cancer via standard prostatespecific antigen test and/or digital rectal exam. The task force-sponsored by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality-concluded that the tests are effective for diagnosis but that there is insufficient evidence to show that they affect long-term health or survival. The task force noted that results of the ongoing Prostate, Colorectal, Lung, and Ovarian Screening Trial, designed to answer this question, will not become available until later in this decade.
If physicians opt to perform the two tests, the task force recommends that they first discuss the uncertain benefits and potential harm of such screening with their patients. The task force report is available online at http://www.ahrq.gov/clinic/3rduspstf/prostatescr/.