Background: Despite the lack of consensus on prostate cancer screening recommendations, men are being screened at high rates in some states. Our objective was to examine the trends in prostate cancer screening awareness and practices from 1994 through 1997 and the relationship among screening practices and demographic characteristics, perceived risk, and family history of prostate cancer.
Methods: Data from the New York State Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System surveys and questionnaire modules on prostate cancer screening were used for this study, which excluded men younger than 50 years of age and men with a history of prostate cancer. The questionnaires were administered by random-digit-dialed monthly telephone surveys of the civilian, noninstitutionalized adult population in New York State.
Results: A total of 295, 336, 273, and 448 men, the vast majority of whom were white, met the study criteria for 1994, 1995, 1996, and 1997, respectively. Each year the percentage of men who reported having heard of the prostate specific antigen (PSA) test increased (test for trend, P < 0.001). Among those who had heard of the PSA test, the percentage who reported having had a PSA test increased steadily from 1994 to 1997. About 30% of the men in each year's study did not have an impression of their risk of getting prostate cancer.
Conclusions: Given the increasing rate at which men are reporting being screened for prostate cancer and given their reported perceived risk levels, perhaps more needs to be done to educate men about screening implications and personal risk for prostate cancer.
Copyright 2000 American Health Foundation and Academic Press.