Brief report: physicians and their personal prostate cancer-screening practices with prostate-specific antigen. A national survey

J Gen Intern Med. 2006 Mar;21(3):257-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1525-1497.2006.00327.x.


Background: There is inconclusive evidence that prostate cancer screening with prostate-specific antigen (PSA) reduces mortality. Although PSA testing is widespread, it is unknown how many physicians have taken the PSA test themselves.

Objective: To determine the prevalence of PSA testing among physicians.

Design: Cross-sectional survey.

Subjects: A nationwide stratified random sample of urologists (response rate 61%, n=247), Internists (response rate 51%, n=273), and family physicians (response rate 64%, n=249) were surveyed by mail in 2000. After excluding female respondents and men who either reported a positive history of prostate cancer or did not respond to that query, there were 146 urologists, 96 Internists, and 118 family physicians.

Measurements: Whether physicians had undergone prostate cancer screening with PSA.

Results: Eighty-seven percent (155/178) of male physicians aged, 50 and older and 21% (31/150) of white male physicians under age 50 reported having had a PSA test. More urologists than nonurologists in both age groups reported having had a screening PSA test.

Conclusion: Most physicians aged 50 and older report undergoing PSA testing. This may reflect a belief in its efficacy and contribute to its widespread use.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Confidence Intervals
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Internal Medicine
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Physicians*
  • Physicians, Women
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen / blood*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Urology


  • Prostate-Specific Antigen