Rates of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening have leveled off after declining for a number of years in the United States, American Cancer Society researchers report.
The decline followed recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF). In 2008, the USPSTF recommended against PSA screening for men aged 75 or older. Then, in 2012, the group recommended against PSA testing for men of all ages.
But the American Cancer Society and other groups urge men 50 and older who have a long life expectancy to talk with their doctor and make a shared decision about PSA screening.
According to previous research from the cancer society, PSA screening rates were about 38 percent for men aged 50 and older in 2010. By 2013, that number had dropped to 31 percent.
In the new study, Stacey Fedewa, director of screening and risk factor surveillance at the American Cancer Society, and colleagues reported that the screening rates appeared to have leveled off. In 2015, the rate of PSA screening in the past year was 32 percent among men 50 and older.
“Physicians interested in de-adopting PSA testing may have done so, closely following the USPSTF recommendation and the media attention that came with it,” Fedewa’s team wrote.
But, “other physicians may be choosing to continue to offer PSA testing based on their beliefs about screening and interpretation of clinical trial results, as well as recommendations from other public health organizations that still support PSA testing, albeit with shared decision-making,” the study authors explained in a cancer society news release.
The study was published online April 24 in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.
Fedewa and her colleagues also noted that another recent study found a slight short-term increase in metastatic prostate cancer among men aged 75 and older. Continued research is needed to see how testing patterns affect prostate cancer outcomes over the long term, the researchers said.
The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more on prostate cancer screening.