Many men unaware of USPSTF PSA recommendation

September 6, 2013

Even as the debate over the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force’s grade D recommendation for PSA screening continues, patients made their feelings clear about the recommendation in a recent survey.

Even as the debate over the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force’s grade D recommendation for PSA screening continues, patients made their feelings clear about the recommendation in a recent survey.

The survey, which included 1,539 men between 50 and 70 years of age from Caucasian, Hispanic, and African-American backgrounds, suggests a widespread lack of awareness of the recommendation: 80% of respondents did not know about it.

However, when given information about the recommendation, nearly three-fourths of respondents said they disagreed with it.

“Because many men are unaware of the Task Force guidelines, they may mistakenly assume that a PSA test is being conducted as part of the overall lab work typically ordered during a physical examination,” said Mark Scholz, MD, of the Prostate Cancer Research Institute, Los Angeles. “The lack of awareness may have direct consequences on the future of their health and certainly limits their opportunity for an open and informed conversation with their physician.”

Once provided information about the recommendation, 73% of the men surveyed said they disagreed with it. Yet less than half of men (47%) who participated in the survey recall their primary care physician recommending a PSA test.

Nearly every man surveyed (97%) said they believed they should be provided information about the PSA test to enable them to have an informed conversation with their physician and make an educated decision about PSA screening. Only half (51%) of men said they believed their physician discussed the pros and cons of a PSA test with them.

More than half of the men (54%) indicated they would ask their physician about PSA screening during their next appointment, while 19% said they plan to ask their primary care doctor for a PSA test.

The survey was commissioned by Theragenics Corp. and was fielded by LiveWire Research.

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