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Prostate-specific antigen screening: Values and techniques shape decisions
Date:2/11/2013

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - What's most important to a man as he decides whether or not to undergo prostate-specific antigen- PSA- screening for prostate cancer? What does he value most about the screening? And what's the best way to present the information to help him make an appropriate decision for himself?

An international team of scientists led by the University of North Carolina has published a study evaluating different ways of helping men consider their values about PSA screening. They report that the decision-making process was influenced by the format in which information was presented.

Their results were reported in the Feb. 11, 2013 online edition of the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

Michael Pignone, MD, MPH, study senior author, says, "Whether to undergo PSA screening is a difficult decision for middle-aged men. PSA screening at best seems to produce only a small reduction in prostate cancer deaths and has considerable downsides.

"Effective prostate cancer screening aids should promote understanding of the benefits and risks involved in deciding whether or not to be screened and should incorporate patient values. Our study evaluated different values clarification methods to determine if there is a difference in men's decision-making based on how they are asked to think about what factors matter to them. We found that there is a difference, and our findings pave the way for further studies."

Dr. Pignone is professor of medicine and chief of the division of general internal medicine, senior research fellow and co-director of the program on medical practice and prevention for the Cecil Sheps Center for Health Services Research, and a member of UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The team described PSA screening decision options in terms of four key attributes: effect on prostate cancer mortality, risk of biopsy, risk of being diagnosed with prostate cancer and risk of becoming impoten
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Contact: Dianne Shaw
dgs@med.unc.edu
919-966-7834
University of North Carolina Health Care
Source:Eurekalert

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