Has ordering of PSA screening dropped among PCPs?
Despite the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force advising against PSA-based screening for prostate cancer, physicians appear not to be cutting back.
While some have claimed that the task force recommendations against PSA screening have caused a major change in prostate cancer screening, a new study by researchers at the UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas revealed the use of PSA for prostate cancer screening was unaffected by changes in these controversial guidelines.
“There’s been a lot of press about PSA testing and the impact of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendations for PSA screening, and some survey-based reporting that the utilization of testing had gone down,” lead author Yair Lotan, MD, of UT Southwestern’s Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center, told Urology Times. “I was interested in seeing how this impacted our institution, since a large number of primary care physicians work at the university, and I wanted to see if these recommendations impacted their behavior.”
Turns out, it didn’t. The study, published online in Cancer (Sept. 22, 2016), involved examining data from 275,000 patient visits involving more than 63,000 PSA tests ordered for both inpatient and outpatient services during the years 2010-2015. The 5-year review revealed the number of tests ordered by primary care physicians was similar before and after the revised guidelines.
The testing excluded patients who have cancer, so researchers removed any PSA testing by radiation oncologists, urologists, and medical oncologists.