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Many Men Plan to Ignore PSA Test Guideline: Survey

Most say they'll still have the prostate cancer screen, despite expert panel's recommendation

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The researchers then adjusted the results, adding more or less weight to certain answers in order to better reflect factors such as the nation's mix of age, race and education.

Only 13 percent of the men planned to follow the recommendation and not get a PSA test. Fifty-four percent said they'd ignore the recommendation and get tested, while one-third of men were undecided, the investigators found.

Blacks, wealthier men, those who'd had a recent PSA test, and those who were at least somewhat worried about prostate cancer were more likely to plan to get a test.

Why are many men ignoring the recommendation even when they're told about it? "It is wishful thinking by the men and urging by their physicians that causes the problem," said Dr. Anthony Miller, professor emeritus of epidemiology at the University of Toronto's Dalla Lana School of Public Health.

For his part, Vickers, the methodologist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering, said men seem to have a "misapprehension" about the value of the test and the risk of unnecessary treatment. "Many people think 'If I don't get screened, I will die of cancer. But if I do get screened, I won't,'" he said.

The best approach is to let patients make the call about PSA tests, he said, after making sure they're well informed about the benefits and risks.

The report appeared online July 9 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

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