Background: Despite the high rate of prostate cancer screening, the accuracy of male patients' self-reports of screening has not been investigated. This study assessed the concordance between patients' self-reports of prostate screening and the medical record.
Methods: Focus groups were conducted to obtain male patients' perceptions of prostate cancer screening and salient terminology. A sample of males (n = 276), 40 years of age or older, completed a 15-item questionnaire. Patients' self-reports of PSA and DRE screening were then compared with medical records.
Results: Results showed that patients' self-reports of DRE and PSA were discordant with the medical record 32 and 29% of the time, respectively. Sensitivity of patients' self-reports for DRE and PSA was 82 and 74%, respectively. Specificity of patients' self-reports for DRE and PSA was 56 and 65%, respectively. One in five patients reported that they were not sure how a doctor checks a man's prostate gland. Only 39% of patients knew that the prostate gland can be checked by a blood test.
Conclusions: There were significant differences between patients' self-reports and the medical record. The results should be of concern to primary care practitioners and to those who evaluate the efficacy of prostate cancer screening programs.
Copyright 1999 American Health Foundation and Academic Press.