The annual call for new topics is now open
We welcome you to propose a new national screening programme which could be introduced across the UK.
The deadline for submissions is 6th December 2020.

Read our blog to find out more.
 

The UK NSC recommendation on Prostate cancer screening/PSA testing in men over the age of 50 (currently under review)

 

This recommendation is currently being reviewed as part of the UK NSC's regular review cycle of all policies.

The review process began in Jan 2019 and is estimated to be completed by Dec 2020.

Recommendation Systematic population screening programme not recommended
 
Key downloads
 

 

Prostate cancer is a serious public health problem.  Evidence suggests that PSA screening can reduce prostate cancer mortality by 21%. However, strategies to manage the harms of overdiagnosis and overtreatment are not yet known. 

 

Find general information about population health screening.

Why is screening not recommended by UK NSC?

Screening is not recommended because:

  • the current test (PSA) is not specific enough and many men would be told that they have cancer when they do not
  • PSA testing is not able to tell which cancers will be fast-growing and will be slow-growing
  • the current evidence does not support a population screening programme using any other test besides PSA
  • the harms of treating men who incorrectly test positive after a PSA test still outweigh the benefits

Research is currently underway which may improve the accuracy of the current test. This would help to identify men at greater risk of fast-growing prostate cancers.

Further information on the risks and benefits is provided by the Prostate Cancer Risk Management Programme.

More about Prostate Cancer

The prostate is a small gland found in men. It is located in the pelvis between the penis and the bladder. The main function of the prostate is to help in the production of semen. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men and usually affects men over the age of 65.

» Read more about prostate cancer on NHS UK

Stakeholders

The British Association for Cancer Research
The British Association of Urological Surgeons
Cancer Black Care
Cancer Research & Genetics UK
Cancer Research UK
CHAPS
Chestnut Appeal
Everyman
Faculty of Public Health
Macmillan
Northern Ireland Cancer Network
Orchid
Primary Care Urology Society
Prostate Cancer UK
Prostate Scotland
Prostate UK
Royal College of General Practitioners
Royal College of Nursing
Royal College of Pathologists
Royal College of Physicians
Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow
Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh
Royal College of Radiologists
Royal College of Surgeons
Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh
Society and College of Radiographers
Tackle Prostate Cancer
Tenovus

The stakeholder groups will be involved when the recommendation is next reviewed. If you think your organisation should be added, please contact us. More information for stakeholders can be found in appendix C of the UK NSC evidence review process.

Related documents

icon Evidence summary- prostate cancer (2015) (PDF document, 1.26MB, 11/12/19)
icon UK NSC coversheet and consultation responses- prostate cancer (2015) (PDF document, 1.22MB, 11/12/19)

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