(HealthDay News) — Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening rates in older men vary considerably among primary care physicians (PCPs), according to a research letter published in the Oct. 16 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

In an effort to assess variation in PSA screening rates according to physician, Elizabeth Jaramillo, M.D., of the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, and colleagues analyzed Medicare data for 61,351 men aged 75 years or older who were seen by 1,963 PCPs.

The researchers found that 28.8% of the men received PSA screening ordered by their PCPs. Rates of PSA screening were significantly greater than the mean rate (49.8%) in 24.2% of PCPs and significantly lower than the mean rate (6.1%) in 16.0% of PCPs. About 27% of the variance in whether a man received PSA screening was explained by which PCP was providing his care.

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“No organization recommends PSA screening in men older than 75 years,” the authors write. “The high variability among PCPs in ordering PSA screening for older men requires additional study to understand its causes. It has been suggested that over-testing rates be included as quality measures of PCPs. Medicare data can be used to generate such measures.”