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


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.

» Download the consultation papers for Prostate Cancer (PDF document, 2.60MB)

The UK NSC welcomes comments and feedback on the consultation papers during the consultation period that lasts from 25/06/2020 until 21/09/2020. Please send comments to Screening Evidence team by e-mail using this feedback form.

Please note that all consultation submissions will be published on this page when the review is complete. Full details can be found in the confidentiality and disclosure section at the bottom of this page.

Recommendation Systematic population screening programme not recommended


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


The British Association for Cancer Research
The British Association of Urological Surgeons
Cancer Black Care
Cancer Research & Genetics UK
Cancer Research UK
Chestnut Appeal
Faculty of Public Health
Northern Ireland Cancer Network
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

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)

Confidentiality and disclosure

Information provided in response to this consultation, including personal information, may be subject to publication or release to other parties or to disclosure in accordance with the access to information regimes (these are primarily the Freedom of Information Act 2000, the Data Protection Act 1998, and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004). If you want information, including personal data that you provide to be treated as confidential, please be aware that, under the FOIA, there is a statutory Code of Practice with which public authorities must comply and which deals, amongst other things, with obligations of confidence.

In view of this it would be helpful if you could explain to us why you regard the information you have provided as confidential. If we receive a request for disclosure of the information we will take full account of your explanation, but we cannot give an assurance that confidentiality can be maintained in all circumstances. An automatic confidentiality disclaimer generated by your IT system will not, of itself, be regarded as binding on the UK National Screening Committee.

Any request for information to be treated in confidence will be taken into consideration in the publication of responses to the consultation. The UK National Screening Committee intends to publish all responses following the closure of the consultation period, however we will not publish responses from respondents who request that any of the information in their response, including personal data, should be handled in confidence. The UK National Screening Committee reserves the right not to publish or take into account any representations which are openly offensive or defamatory.

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