This report describes associations of demographic and health-related characteristics with use of prostate cancer screening. Data are from a random-digit dial survey of Washington State residents. Analyses are restricted to men ages 40-79 years (n = 332) and examine both digital rectal examination (DRE) and blood tests for prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in the previous 2 years. Results are adjusted to be representative of the state's population. In 1996, 53.6% of men received either DRE, PSA, or both. Among those screened, 42% received DRE alone, 15% PSA alone, and 43% both PSA and DRE, and the percentages of men receiving PSA increased markedly with age (30%, ages 40-49 years; 58%, ages 50-59 years; and 77%, ages 60-79 years). After control for other demographic characteristics, the relative odds for any prostate cancer screening were 5.5 for ages 60-79 versus 40-49 years, 2.4 for 16+ versus < or = 12 years of education, and 4.0 for 2+ versus no physician visits in the previous 2 years (all P < 0.05). Characteristics generally associated with good health, including regular exercise and low fat and high fruit and vegetable intakes, were also significantly associated with prostate cancer screening. In conclusion, in 1996, approximately one-half of the men in Washington State over age 40 years had received prostate cancer screening in the previous 2 years. Few men were screened with PSA alone, and the use of PSA as part of prostate cancer screening increased markedly with age. Because PSA screening increases detection of prostate cancer, epidemiological studies of health behavior and cancer risk must carefully control for screening history to avoid detection bias.