Designing and Implementing a Population-based Organised Prostate Cancer Testing Programme

Eur Urol Focus. 2022 Nov;8(6):1568-1574. doi: 10.1016/j.euf.2022.06.008. Epub 2022 Jul 8.


Background: European guidelines recommend that well-informed men at elevated risk of having prostate cancer (PCa) should be offered prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing with risk-stratified follow-up. The Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare recommends against screening for PCa but supports regional implementation of organised prostate cancer testing (OPT).

Objective: To report the process for designing and implementing OPT programmes.

Design, setting, and participants: Population-based OPT programmes in two Swedish regions, designed to include men aged between 50 and 74 yr, launched in September 2020 for 50-yr-old men.

Outcome measurements and statistical analysis: The number of men invited, the participation rate, and the numbers of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, urological visits, and biopsies from September 2020 to June 2021 were recorded.

Results and limitations: Two Swedish regions co-designed an OPT programme with a risk-stratified diagnostic algorithm based on prostate-specific antigen (PSA), PSA density, MRI findings, and age. An automated administrative system was developed on a nationwide web-based platform. Invitation letters and test results are automatically generated and sent out by post. Men with PSA ≥3ng/ml, a suspicious MRI lesion, and/or PSA density ≥0.15 ng/ml/cm3 are referred for a prostate biopsy. Test results are registered for quality control and research. By June 2021, a total of 16 515 men were invited, of whom 6309 (38%) participated; 147 had an MRI scan and 39 underwent prostate biopsy. The OPT framework, algorithm, and diagnostic pathways have been working well.

Conclusions: We designed and implemented a framework for OPT with a high grade of automation. The framework and organisational experiences may be of value for others who plan a programme for early detection of PCa.

Patient summary: We describe the implementation of an organised testing programme for early detection of prostate cancer in two Swedish regions. This model is the first of its kind and may serve as a template for similar programmes.

Keywords: Early diagnosis; Magnetic resonance imaging; Mass testing; Method description; Organised testing; Prostate cancer; Prostate-specific antigen; Screening.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Early Detection of Cancer
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms* / diagnostic imaging


  • Prostate-Specific Antigen