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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Evidence of prostate cancer screening in a UK region.

OBJECTIVE: To examine the pattern of use of prostate-specific antigen ( PSA) testing in a UK region, where National Health Service policy does not recommend screening for prostate cancer. SUBJECTS AND METHODS: Data were collected on all PSA tests in Northern Ireland between 1990 and 1999. Annual rates of PSA testing were calculated by age, GP Practice and year. RESULTS: In all, 165 862 PSA tests were performed on 84 669 men, and over a third of men aged > or = 50 years had at least one PSA test. Men aged < 50 years accounted for 12.9% of first tests. The proportion of tests from primary care increased from 47.2% in 1993 to 67.0% in 1999. The mean age of men tested once decreased from 65.6 to 61.9 years (P trend < 0.001) and the proportion with an elevated PSA level also declined during the period. Repeat testing increased with PSA level (P < 0.001) but 29.4% of men with a PSA level of < or = 4 ng/mL also had repeat testing. Raised PSA values were more common from hospital than primary care (32.4% vs 20.6%, P < 0.001) and in older men. Test rates varied 100-fold across general practices, a finding not explained by sociodemographic factors, but one which reflects differential adherence to national guidelines, suggesting that general practitioners are key targets for attempting to rationalise the use of the PSA test. CONCLUSION: These findings suggest that PSA screening is taking place against evidence-based advice and has resulted in over 20 000 men being designated as having a raised PSA level, creating a need for further assessment.[1]


  1. Evidence of prostate cancer screening in a UK region. Gavin, A., McCarron, P., Middleton, R.J., Savage, G., Catney, D., O'Reilly, D., Keane, P.F., Murray, L.J. BJU international. (2004) [Pubmed]
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