Prostate Cancer Screening & Diagnostics

Prostate Cancer Screening & Diagnostics

Prostate cancer is the second most frequently diagnosed cancer in men, with the chances of developing the disease at approximately 1 in 7. Although prostate cancer can be slow growing and take years to develop, 5-year survival rates are high—especially if the cancer is detected early.

Beginning at age 40, men should discuss the pros and cons of prostate screening with a physician, especially if considered to be at higher risk (family history of prostate cancer or men of African American descent).

Northside Hospital supports the American Cancer Society’s recommendation that men should make an informed decision with their health care provider regarding the appropriateness of prostate cancer screening.

Community Prostate Cancer Screenings

Northside Hospital offers free prostate cancer screenings throughout the year at a variety of convenient locations. Screenings consist of a simple blood test to measure the amount of PSA (protein-specific antigen) in the blood. Men are strongly encouraged to have all the facts before making the decision to undergo PSA testing. Click here to learn more about the benefits and risks of PSA testing. (Spanish Version)

Digital rectal exams (DREs) are no longer offered at Northside Hospital prostate screenings. Current studies indicate that PSA testing alone is sufficient as an initial screening tool for prostate cancer.

Prostate Cancer Screening Eligibility Requirements:

Men who meet the follow criteria are eligible to register and attend a Northside Hospital prostate cancer screening:

  • Men who are between the ages of 45-75
  • Men who have never been diagnosed with prostate cancer
  • Men who have not had a prostate exam within the past year

PSA Test Results:

Your PSA test results will be mailed to you approximately 10-14 business days following the screening. For men with an elevated PSA blood level, a nurse navigator is available to provide assistance if further medical evaluation is indicated.

Screening Dates and Registration

Download our current schedule of prostate cancer screenings. (Spanish version) or visit our Classes & Events calendar.

Northside Hospital prostate cancer screenings are free, but registration is requiredCall (404) 531- 4444 between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday to schedule an appointment. Qualified interpreters are available to assist you at the screening. Please inform registration staff of your language preference.

Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) Blood Test and Digital Rectal Exam (DRE)

A PSA blood test is often used to screen men for prostate cancer, either with or without a digital rectal exam (DRE). The PSA blood test looks for elevated proteins produced by the prostate. The purpose of the rectal exam is to feel the prostate gland to determine if there is an area of firmness. If you have an abnormal PSA or DRE, your physician will review your medical history, including your risk for developing prostate cancer, and will make necessary follow-up recommendations.

Other Exams and Tests

If a biopsy is needed to tell if you have prostate cancer, a sample of tissue is removed from the prostate and sent to a lab.

Your doctor may recommend a prostate biopsy if:

  • You have high PSA level
  • A rectal exam shows a large prostate or a hard, uneven surface

The results are reported using what is called a Gleason grade and a Gleason score. The Gleason grade tells you how fast the cancer might spread. It grades tumors on a scale of 1 - 5. You may have different grades of cancer in one biopsy sample. The two main grades are added together. This gives you the Gleason score. The higher your Gleason score, the more likely the cancer is to have spread past the prostate:

  • Scores 2 - 5: Low-grade prostate cancer
  • Scores 6 - 7: Intermediate (or in the middle)- grade cancer. Most prostate cancers fall into this group.
  • Scores 8 - 10: High-grade cancer

The following tests may be done to determine whether the cancer has spread:

Imaging and Diagnostics

Northside’s vast network of convenient imaging centers offers a comprehensive array of advanced technology in a variety of subspecialties including oncology, women’s imaging and pediatric imaging. Locations are available across Georgia with extended hours to meet your needs. At each of our imaging centers you’ll find state-of-the-art technology and a dedicated team of board-certified radiologists and certified, compassionate technicians, who provide the highest level of customer service. See our complete list of Imaging Locations and services.


Northside Hospital - Atlanta

1000 Johnson Ferry Road NE
Atlanta, GA 30342
(404) 851-8000

Northside Hospital - Cherokee

450 Northside Cherokee Blvd.
Canton, GA 30115
(770) 224-1000

Northside Hospital - Forsyth

1200 Northside Forsyth Drive
Cumming, GA 30041
(770) 844-3200

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