One in 5 Young Men Had Prostate Screen in Past Year

Analysis may aid in guiding recommendations on who should get screened and when

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HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Aug. 11, 2008 (HealthDay News) -- One in five men in their 40s has had a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test in the past year, and young black men are more likely than young white men to have undergone the test, a new analysis shows.

The findings, published in the Sept. 15 issue of Cancer, should help experts as they reassess prostate cancer screening recommendations.

Most groups recommended men with no specific risk of prostate cancer discuss with their doctor whether to get tested around age 50. The American Cancer Society recommends annual testing, starting at age 45 for blacks and men with an immediate relative with prostate cancer. The association recommends testing start at 40 for men with two or more first-degree relatives with prostate cancer.

Still, most major medical organizations say not enough evidence exists to recommend routine prostate cancer screening using PSA or digital rectal exam (DRE) for most men.

While the results of the new analysis are somewhat reassuring about doctors recommending screening to black men who are at a greater risk for prostate cancer, the study authors noted that PSA screening in this group is still below acceptable levels. The study found only about one in three black men reported having a PSA test in the past year.

The survey, based on a 2002 survey of 58,511 U.S. men aged 40 and above, also found that younger Hispanic men were more likely to undergo PSA testing than younger white, non-Hispanic men. The likelihood of having a PSA test also increased with obesity, as well as having a higher household income and higher education level.

The study also found health insurance coverage and an ongoing relationship with a physician were also strongly tied to whether one had a recent PSA test.

"Our study is the first to specifically examine PSA screening in younger men, which provides an important assessment of quality of care, especially for high-risk groups," the authors wrote. "Further investigation will be required to understand the impact of new risk-stratification strategies, with particular focus on the policy implications of potentially large increases in health-care resource use."

More information

The American Cancer Society has more about prostate cancer.

SOURCE: American Cancer Society, news release, Aug. 11, 2008

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