Prostate cancer is the second most common cause of male cancer deaths in Western countries. However, one of the most contentious topics in medicine continues to be whether testing for this very common tumor is in the best interests of individual patients. Although there is a spectrum of progression rates for this tumor, in most instances, prostate cancer replicates and spreads slowly. As this tumor is uncommonly diagnosed before the age of 40 years and the likelihood of clinical detection increases as men age, most patients have comorbidities when diagnosed with prostate cancer. For this reason and because there are not insignificant potential disadvantages with the detection process and its consequences, it is important to determine whether the benefits of detection are likely to be greater than the unwanted effects of leaving a possible prostate cancer undiagnosed. In this Endotext chapter, the likelihood of a detectable prostate cancer being present is placed in context of patients’ ages and co-morbidies before detailing the tests currently used in clinical practice, together with their limitations. For complete coverage of all related areas of Endocrinology, please visit our on-line FREE web-text, WWW.ENDOTEXT.ORG.
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