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Should I do a prostate test before age 40?


Dear Doc,

During my annual health check my doctor also requested a blood test for my prostate. I am 38 years old. I thought that people usually start at age 40. Is it really worth it?{{more}}


Dear Sean,

The early bird catches the worm. It is true that the stipulated age to start doing annual prostate examination is age forty. That age has been chosen based on statistics which have shown that most persons who develop prostate cancer would have the initial changes around that age. It does not mean that some would not have it earlier. Based on family history and sheer initiative of your physician, he might believe that there is reason to have your first examination at age 38. It is also good practice to know what the PSA is like at that age, to serve as a baseline. What that means is that if at age 38, your PSA is 0.5 and at age forty it reads 4.0, though within the normal limits, it can create suspicion as it is a significant increase over a short period of time.

A doctor who makes decisions that are not always within the general norm but based on instinct, research and knowledge of family history, is concerned about you and not statistics. That is a good doctor to have and would benefit you by making early diagnosis and thus offer better outcomes with possibility for decisive intervention.


SVG Cancer Society,

P.O. Box 709, Kingstown.


Phone: 526-7036