And while some men with a low risk of prostate cancer may actually develop the disease, it is not likely to be symptomatic or shorten their life by the age of 85, the researchers noted.
"The limitation of the study is that it is based on one population," Lilja said. "We would certainly want to have another corresponding population with a similar finding."
Prostate cancer expert Dr. Anthony D'Amico, chief of radiation oncology at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, said that "the study's conclusion should be that if you live till age 60 and you have not been diagnosed with prostate cancer and your PSA is less than 1 nanograms per milliliter, then your risk of getting prostate cancer is quite small."
"But that's a big if," he said. "What do you say to men who are 45 or 50?"
D'Amico believes that men should have their PSA checked before the age of 60. "Then at 60, if you PSA is less than 1 nanograms/milliliter, then you might be OK," he said.
Men whose PSA is higher at 60 may need a biopsy to check for cancer, he added.
A study published in the Sept. 13 online edition of Cancer found that, in many men 55 to 74 with low PSA levels, further screening and early detection of prostate cancer offer virtually no benefit.
However, this study followed men for only nine years, which is too short a time to draw any definitive conclusions about the need for PSA screening, D'Amico said.
Prostate cancer remains the most commonly diagnosed cancer and the third leading cause of cancer deaths among men in Western countries, but most men with the disease won't die from it. In the United States, a man has about a 15.8 percent chance of being diagnosed with prostate cancer, but the risk of dying fro
All rights reserved