Low-Value Prostate Cancer Screening Among Young Men With Private Insurance

Urol Pract. 2024 Jan;11(1):110-115. doi: 10.1097/UPJ.0000000000000461. Epub 2023 Sep 25.


Introduction: No professional society guidelines recommend PSA screening in men younger than age 40; however, data suggest testing occurs at meaningful rates in this age group. The purpose of this study was to identify the rate of PSA testing in men under 40.

Methods: This is a population-based, retrospective cohort study from 2008 to 2017. Using the MarketScan database, rates of testing for the sum of the annual population of men at risk were evaluated. Descriptive statistics and statistical analyses were performed in men continuously enrolled in the database for at least 5 year. Results were stratified by receipt of PSA testing and by age group. The association of diagnoses and Charlson Comorbidity Index with receipt of PSA test was evaluated using multivariable logistic regression models.

Results: We identified 3,230,748 men ages 18 to 39 who were enrolled for at least 5 years. The rate of ever receiving PSA testing was 0.6%, 1.7%, 8.5%, and 9.1% in men less than 25, 25 to 29, 30 to 34, and 35 to 39 years, respectively. Multivariable logistic regression showed that relative to all men 18 to 39, patients who received PSA testing had higher odds of a diagnosis of hypogonadism (OR 11.77) or lower urinary tract symptoms (OR 4.19).

Conclusions: This study found a remarkable number of young men receive PSA testing, with a strong association with diagnoses of lower urinary tract symptoms and hypogonadism. Clinicians need to be educated that assessment and management guidelines for other urologic diagnoses now defer PSA testing to prostate cancer screening guidelines.

Keywords: delivery of health care; early detection of cancer; prostate-specific antigen; prostatic neoplasms.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Early Detection of Cancer / methods
  • Humans
  • Hypogonadism*
  • Insurance*
  • Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms*
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / methods
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen
  • Prostatic Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Prostate-Specific Antigen