Ask the Doctor - Prostate Cancer Screening for High-Risk Men

Black men, military Veterans, and men with a family history are at the highest risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer. Understand your risk, as well as how genetic testing may impact prostate cancer.

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Prostate Cancer Screening for High-Risk Men

Are You High Risk? All men are at risk of developing prostate cancer at some time in their lives. However, you may be at increased risk if you: • Have a family history of prostate, breast, colorectal, or ovarian cancer • Are African-American • Are a Veteran Falling into one or more of these categories could increase your risk of developing prostate cancer or being diagnosed with more aggressive disease. Knowing your risk could help you detect prostate cancer in its earliest stages. Most men should begin discussing prostate cancer screening with their doctor at the age of 45, but those at higher risk should begin having those conversations at the age of 40.

Genetic Testing Genetic testing can be broken down into two types: germline and somatic. Germline testing focuses on finding inherited gene mutations in every cell of the body while somatic testing identifies mutations that only exist in the tumor.

Germline Testing

Somatic Testing

• Conducted on blood or saliva • Identifies inherited gene mutations present in every cell of the body • Provides eligibility

• Conducted on tissue or circulating tumor DNA in the blood • Identifies gene mutations that exist only in the tumor • Provides eligibility

for targeted therapies if cancer progresses

for targeted therapies if cancer progresses


• Provides risk of additional cancers • Offers information regarding family member’s risk of developing cancer







Talk to your healthcare provider or a genetic counselor about the pros and cons of genetic testing. Genetic testing is not for everyone, but learning more can help you make the best decisions for you and your family.

Family History Knowing your family history of prostate cancer and other cancers can help determine your risk since some genetic mutations for cancers overlap. Some families, and even some cultures, find it difficult to discuss health and cancer history. However, these conversations are important and may help save lives. Having these conversations can often deepen family bonds and bring everyone closer.

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© 2023 ZERO ® Prostate Cancer 02/23

This document is one of a four-part Ask the Doctor educational literature and video series. View all parts of the series at .

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