Harvard Men's Health Watch

Older men slow to quit PSA testing

Despite recommendations against routinely screening for hidden prostate cancer with the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test, many men have continued to do so, according to national survey findings reported in JAMA Internal Medicine. Most striking, large numbers of men 70 and older, who stand to gain the least from PSA testing, have continued the practice.

The survey questioned men in 2012, about a year after release of a strong recommendation against prostate cancer screening with PSA by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), a group of experts on preventive medicine.

In the 2012 survey data, a third of all men said they'd had PSA tests to look for hidden prostate cancer. The rates were highest in older men: nearly half of those ages 65 and older reported a PSA test, as did a third of men 80 and older. PSA testing rates may fall over time, but currently remain out of step with evidence-based recommendations.

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