Survey Says: Providers Face Barriers to Discontinuing PSA Testing

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(ChemotherapyAdvisor) – Despite the recent recommendations for prostate cancer screening from the United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF), healthcare providers face multiple barriers to discontinuing the use of the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test for prostate cancer screening, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD. This conclusion is based on a study entitled “Primary Care Providers' Perspectives on Discontinuing Prostate Cancer Screening,” which was published online in Cancer on April 19.

The authors of this study noted that the current clinical guidelines from USPSTF recommend against routine PSA testing in older men and in those with lower life expectancies. Using the survey model, the authors gauged healthcare providers' current prostate cancer screening practices, factors that influence their decision to discontinue screening, and barriers to discontinuing screening.

Of the 125 healthcare providers who participated in the study, 59.3% took both age and life expectancy into account, whereas 12.2% did not consider either in their decisions to discontinue PSA screening. Providers varied in the age at which they typically stopped screening patients, and the majority (66.4%) reported difficulty in assessing life expectancy. Taking patient age and life expectancy into account was not associated with provider characteristics or practice styles. The most frequently cited barriers to discontinuing PSA screening were patient expectation (74.4%) and time constraints (66.4%).

The investigators concluded: “Although age and life expectancy often figured prominently in decisions to use screening, providers faced multiple barriers to discontinuing routine PSA screening.”


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