Purpose: Screening for prostate cancer with the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) remains highly controversial. We sought to discern which patient factors predict interest in the PSA and how informed consent impacts these predictors.
Patients and methods: In a randomized trial that found that informed consent decreases patient interest in PSA screening, potential predictors of interest were analyzed separately in the uninformed (n = 102) and informed (n = 103) cohorts to examine the effects of the informational intervention.
Results: Univariate predictors of PSA screening interest (P < 0.05) among uninformed patients included perceived efficacy of screening, perceived seriousness of an abnormal PSA, and willingness to accept treatment risks. Among patients who had been informed about PSA screening, univariate predictors included family history of prostate cancer, perceived susceptibility to prostate cancer, age (inverse association), and perceived efficacy, although informed patients rated PSA efficacy significantly lower than uninformed patients (P < 0.001). In multivariate logistic regression modeling for the uninformed cohort, perceived screening efficacy (P < 0.001), perceived seriousness (P < 0.05), and willingness to accept treatment risks (P < 0.05) together were significant predictors of PSA screening interest. Among informed patients, perceived efficacy (P < 0.001), perceived susceptibility (P = 0.01), and younger age (P = 0.01) together predicted interest in screening.
Conclusions: In contrast to uninformed patients, patients given information about PSA screening and prostate cancer are more likely to be interested in screening if they have a family history of prostate cancer, are younger, or otherwise consider themselves susceptible to developing prostate cancer. Uninformed patients are more likely to base their screening interest on the perceived seriousness of prostate cancer and on their willingness to accept treatment risks.