Recommendations > Prostate Cancer

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 2014 and is estimated to be completed by Nov 2015.

» Download the expert review for Prostate Cancer (PDF document, 1016KB)

The UK NSC welcomes comments and feedback on the expert review during the consultation period that lasts from 03/06/2015 until 04/09/2015. Please send comments to Adrian Byrtus 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

The UK NSC does not recommend universal screening of men for prostate cancer.


PSA (prostate specific antigen) testing can, however, be performed on request. Information is provided on the risks and benefits by the Prostate Cancer Risk Management Programme.


Find general information about population health screening.

Why is screening not recommended by UK NSC?

The UK NSC does not recommend universal screening of men for prostate cancer because:

  • The test for prostate cancer is not effective enough and does not identify a large proportion of men who in fact have prostate cancer.
  • A positive test will lead in most cases to a biopsy, which often does not give a definitive answer and leads to anxiety and to further investigations.
  • Current research indicates for every 100,000 men at age 50 offered screening, 748 would end up being treated. The men accepting screening would have their lives extended on average by a day – while 274 men would be made impotent, 25 incontinent and 17 would have rectal problems as a result of the treatment.

More about Prostate Cancer

The prostate is a small gland in the pelvis that's found only in men. It's located between the penis and the bladder and surrounds the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the penis. The main function of the prostate is to help in the production of semen. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. It is responsible for 25% of newly diagnosed cases of cancer in England and Wales. The chances of developing prostate cancer increase as you get older. Most cases develop in men aged 65 or older.

» Read more about prostate cancer on NHS Choices

» Read more about prostate cancer on Cancerbackup


The British Association for Cancer Research
The British Association of Urological Surgeons
Cancer Black Care
Cancer Research UK
Faculty of Public Health
The Prostate Cancer Charity
Prostate Cancer Support Federation
Prostate Scotland
Prostate UK
Royal College of General Practitioners
Royal College of Physicians
Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh
Royal College of Radiologists
Royal College of Surgeons
Society and College of Radiographers

The stakeholder groups will be involved when the recommendation is next reviewed. If you think your organisation should be added, please contact us. More about the recommendation review process, including the role of stakeholders, can be found in the guide to Engaging with the UK NSC's recommendation review process.

Related documents

icon Option appraisal: screening for prostate cancer (update - March 2013) (PDF document, 1.13MB, 27/03/13)

Confidentiality and disclosure

The UK NSC aims to publish all responses to recommendation consultations in full. However we realise that some respondents may wish to remain anonymous. The consultation feedback form enables respondents to specify that their name should not be made public.

The UK NSC operates in accordance with the access to information regimes (primarily the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA), the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004). As such it will always be necessary to remove patient identifiable information, even if permission to publish this has been specifically given.

If you want the information 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.

The UK National Screening Committee will process your personal data in accordance with the DPA and, in most circumstances, this will mean that your personal data will not be disclosed to third parties.

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