Uncertainty common when deciding to stop PSA screening

Age, Life Expectancy Influence Termination of PSA Screening
Age, Life Expectancy Influence Termination of PSA Screening

HealthDay News -- More than half of primary care providers -- 66.4% -- reported having difficulty determining when to discontinue prostate cancer screening based on life expectancy assessment, results of a study published in Cancer indicate.

"Although age and life expectancy often figured prominently in decisions to use screening, providers faced multiple barriers to discontinuing routine PSA screening," Craig E. Pollack, MD, MHS, from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, and colleagues wrote.

They found that 59.3% of clinicians said that they consider both a man's age and life expectancy in deciding whether to discontinue prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screenings, results from the survey indicate. It involved 125 primary providers from a large, university-affiliated primary care practice who were asked about current screening practices, factors that influenced their decision to discontinue screening and barriers to discontinuing screening.

Differences in provider characteristics or practice styles were not associated with whether or not a doctor took patient age and life expectancy into account as part of the decision, Pollack and colleagues determined.

Patient expectation (74.4%) and time constrains (66.4%) were the most frequently cited barriers to discontinuing PSA screening, the researchers found; however, differences in provider characteristics or practice styles were not associated with whether or not a doctor took patient age and life expectancy into account as part of the decision.

Pollack CE. Cancer. 2012;doi:10.1002/cncr.27577.

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