What Have Patients Been Hearing From Providers Since the 2012 USPSTF Recommendation Against Routine Prostate Cancer Screening?

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Abstract

Micro-Abstract

In this study we used survey data to examine the association of provider communication (PC) with prostate cancer (PCa) screening using the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. PC increased the chances of PSA testing. Although 2012 US Preventive Services Task Force guidelines recommend against PCa screening, our findings suggest that in the presence of PC, rates of PCa screening are likely to increase rather than decrease.

Background:

In this study we aimed to determine the relationship between prostate-specific antigen (PSA)-related information obtained from the provider and PSA test uptake. With recent focus on patient-provider communication (PC) and the guidelines recommending against PSA tests for prostate cancer (PCa), PC regarding the PSA test might affect PSA screening rates.

Materials and Methods:

We used the fourth edition of the Health Information National Trends Survey, a nationally-representative US survey on the use of cancer-related information. The survey was conducted in 3 cycles: October 2011 to January 2012 (cycle 1); October 2012 to January 2013 (cycle 2); September 2013 to October 2013 (cycle 3). Logistic regression was used to study the effect of PC on respondents' uptake of the PSA test.

Results:

Most of the respondents were 51 to 65 years old, white, with college or higher education, were married, and had health insurance. PC regarding the PSA test greatly increased the chances of screening for PCa using the PSA test in all 3 cycles (odds ratio [OR], 2.51 [95% confidence interval (CI), 2.03-3.10] in cycle 1; OR, 3.50 [95% CI, 2.51-4.88] in cycle 2; OR, 2.69 [95% CI, 2.02-3.58] in cycle 3).

Conclusion:

Our study showed that PC increased the likelihood of patients undergoing PSA screening. In light of the 2012 US Preventive Services Task Force guidelines recommending against screening for PCa, PC seemed to have an opposite effect. Although updated PC that educates patients on the risks and benefits of PSA screening is needed, patients classically overemphasize benefits and underemphasize risks—which might increase rather than decrease PSA screening rates.

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