PURPOSE: Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening is controversial, and little is known regarding a physician's effect on a patient's decision to undergo screening. This study's objective was to evaluate the effect of a patient's understanding of the risks and benefits of screening compared to the final recommendation of the provider on the patient's decision to undergo PSA screening.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Using the 2012 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, men older than 55 years who did not have a history of prostate cancer/prostate "problem" and who reported a PSA test within the preceding year were considered to have undergone screening. The percentages of men informed and not informed of the risks and benefits of screening and the percentage men receiving recommendations for PSA screening from their provider were reported. Multivariable complex-sample logistic regression calculated the odds of undergoing screening.
RESULTS: In all, 75% of men were informed of screening benefits; however, 32% were informed of screening risks. After being informed of both, 56% of men opted for PSA screening if the provider recommended it, compared with only 21% when not recommended. Men receiving a recommendation to undergo PSA testing had higher odds of undergoing screening (odds ratio [OR] = 4.98, 95% CI: 4.53-5.48) compared with those who were only informed about screening benefits (OR = 2.40, 95% CI: 2.18-2.65) or risks (OR = 0.92, 95% CI: 0.86-0.98). Significant limitations include recall and nonresponse bias.
CONCLUSIONS: Patients' decision to undergo or forgo PSA screening is heavily influenced by the recommendation of their physician; it is imperative that physicians are cognizant of their biases and facilitate a shared decision-making process.