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 2014 and is estimated to be completed by Nov 2015.

Recommendation Systematic population screening programme not recommended
Key downloads

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

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)

More options

Go to top