Men's attitudes toward prostate cancer and seeking prostate-specific antigen testing

J Cancer Educ. Spring 2001;16(1):42-5. doi: 10.1080/08858190109528723.


Background: Although the Australian Cancer Society recommends against performing PSA tests to screen for prostate cancer, many Australian men currently undergo such screening. This study investigated attitudinal variables that may predict prostate cancer screening behaviors in this context.

Methods: A questionnaire was administered by mail in a two-phase procedure, first to a sample of 1,461 men (46% response), then to 919 men from the initial sample. Prostate cancer screening behaviors of men > 40 years old were examined. The questionnaire assessed worry about prostate cancer, perceived vulnerability to prostate cancer, belief in the efficacy of PSA testing for detection, having received a PSA test for detection, and the presence of urologic symptoms at the time of testing.

Results: Men who had had PSA testing with urologic symptoms at the time of the test were more worried about prostate cancer and perceived themselves as more vulnerable to prostate cancer compared with both asymptomatic tested and untested men. Men who had undergone PSA testing believed the test to be more effective in the detection of prostate cancer than did men who had not.

Conclusions: Urologic symptoms act as a risk cue for men to prostate cancer. Asymptomatic men should be considered separately from symptomatic men in the investigation of psychological variables predictive of seeking screening for prostate cancer. These findings are discussed in terms of both the focus and design of interventions to alter prostate cancer screening behavior and their implications for the clinical management of men with urologic symptoms.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Attitude to Health
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Queensland
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Prostate-Specific Antigen