Prostate-Specific Antigen Testing

Men's Responses to 2012 Recommendation Against Screening


      The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) released a draft recommendation advising against prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing in October 2011, a major shift from previous years of recommending neither for or against PSA testing due to insufficient evidence.


      The purpose of this study was to assess men’s awareness of the new recommendation, and their responses to it.


      This study comprised a web survey of men aged 40–74 years that was conducted through GfK Custom Research, LLC’s Knowledge Panel® from November 22 to December 2, 2011. Chi-square tests and logistic regression analyses were conducted to identify factors associated with disagreement with and intention to follow the recommendation. Data were analyzed in March 2012.


      The survey sample included 1089 men without a history of prostate cancer. After reviewing the recommendation, 62% agreed with the recommendation. Age and worry about getting prostate cancer were significantly related to disagreement with the recommendation. Only 13% of respondents were intenders (they planned to follow the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendation and not get a prostate-specific antigen test in the future); 54% were non-intenders (they planned to not follow the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendation and get a prostate-specific antigen test in the future); and 33% were undecided. Black race, higher income, having a PSA test in the past 2 years, and being somewhat/very worried about getting prostate cancer were all positively associated with being a non-intender.


      Study findings suggest that consumers are favorably disposed to PSA testing, despite new evidence suggesting that the harms outweigh the benefits. The new USPSTF recommendation against PSA testing in all men may be met with resistance.
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