My grandad, dad, and uncle all had prostate cancer. Online says your doctor should check you after you’re 40. Given history, should I be checked to see if I have prostate cancer sooner? Is this a blood test? X-ray? How do they check?

Thanks for your question. Prostate cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer among sex-assigned at birth males. The prostate is a gland between your bladder and your penis. A person’s risk of prostate cancer depends on several factors such as their age and family history (i.e. do other people in the family have prostate cancer).

For sex-assigned at birth males ages 55-65 years old, the United States Preventive Services Task Force recommends that prostate cancer screening be an individual decision between the patient and their health care provider. Routine screening is not recommended for anyone under the age of 55. Screening would likely consist of a digital rectal exam where a health care provider will feel your prostate and/or a blood test.

We recommend you talk with your dad, uncle, and grandfather to see how old they were when they were diagnosed with prostate cancer, and if they ever had genetic testing. Then talk to your health care provider to see if and when you should start getting tested.

Here’s a tip on how to bring it up to your health care provider: “My dad, uncle, and grandfather had prostate cancer. When should I start getting tested for it?”​