Health Policy for Prostate Cancer Early Detection in the European Union and the Impact of Opportunistic Screening: PRAISE-U Consortium

J Pers Med. 2024 Jan 11;14(1):84. doi: 10.3390/jpm14010084.


With the new policy recommendation in 2022 to explore the possibilities of screening for prostate cancer by the European Commission, the landscape for prostate cancer early detection is evolving. In line with this recommendation, the PRAISE-U project aims to evaluate the early detection and diagnosis of prostate cancer through customised and risk-based screening programmes, with the goal to align protocols across European Union member states. This systematic review is part of the PRAISE-U project, with the goal to review the policy, medical guideline recommendations, and the current level of opportunistic screening presented in the scientific literature on prostate cancer early detection from 2016 to 2023 in European Union member states. An extensive literature search was performed on 1 June 2023 in a large number of databases, including, Medline (Ovid), Web of Science Core Collection, Google Scholar, and Policy Commons. We identified 318 articles (qualitative, quantitative, and reviews), of which 41 were included in the full-text screening. Seventeen articles were ultimately identified as eligible for inclusion. The included articles revealed significant variations towards PSA-based early detection policies for prostate cancer in nine European countries. Despite official recommendations, opportunistic screening was prevalent across all nine countries regardless of recommendations for or against PSA-based early detection. This systematic review suggests that the current early detection policies are not fit for purpose. High levels of opportunistic screening and overdiagnosis persist, prompting policy recommendations for standardised guidelines, informed decision making, and increased awareness to improve efficiency and effectiveness in early detection.

Keywords: early detection; health policy; policy; prostate cancer; screening.

Publication types

  • Review