Navigation Links
Psychological Science explains uproar over prostate-cancer screenings
Date:5/22/2012

WASHINGTON The uproar that began last year when the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force stated that doctors should no longer offer regular prostate-cancer tests to healthy men continued this week when the task force released their final report. Overall, they stuck to their guns, stating that a blood test commonly used to screen for prostate cancer, the PSA test, causes more harm than good it leads men to receive unnecessary, and sometimes even dangerous, treatments.

But many people simply don't believe that the test is ineffective. Even faced with overwhelming evidence, such as a ten-year study of around 250,000 men that showed the test didn't save lives, many activists and medical professionals are clamoring for men to continue receiving their annual PSA test. Why the disconnect?

In an article published in Psychological Science, a publication of the Association for Psychological Science, researchers Hal R. Arkes, of Ohio State University, and Wolfgang Gaismaier, from the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, Germany, picked apart laypeople's reactions to the report, and examined the reasons why people are so reluctant to give up the PSA test.

"Many folks who had a PSA test and think that it saved their life are infuriated that the Task Force seems to be so negative about the test," said Arkes.

They suggest several factors that may have contributed to the public's condemnation of the report. Many studies have shown that anecdotes have power over a person's perceptions of medical treatments. For example, a person can be shown statistics that Treatment A works less frequently than Treatment B, but if they read anecdotes (such as comments on a website) by other patients who had success with Treatment B, they'll be more likely to pick Treatment B. The source of the anecdotes matters too. If a friend, a close relative, or any trusted source received successful treatment, they would be more likely to recommend that treatment to others, even if there was evidence showing the treatment only works for a minority of people.

Arkes and Gaismaier also propose that the public may have recoiled against the task force's recommendations so fiercely because they weren't able to properly evaluate the data in the report. Confusion over the use of control groups may have led people in the general public to weigh the data differently than medical professionals did.

"How to change this is the million-dollar question," said Arkes. "Pictorial displays are far easier to comprehend than statistics. The two figures in our article depict the situation more clearly than text and numbers can do. I think data displayed in this manner can help change people's view of the PSA test because we compare the relative outcomes of being tested and not being tested. Without that comparison, it is tough for the public to appreciate the relative pluses and minuses of the PSA test versus not having the PSA test."

Men will be able to continue to request the PSA test, and it will be covered by health insurance for the foreseeable future. But psychological science suggests that unless people are convinced to choose statistics over anecdotes, confusion surrounding the test's effectiveness will linger.


'/>"/>

Contact: Anna Mikulak
amikulak@psychologicalscience.org
202-293-9300
Association for Psychological Science
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Five Organizations Receive APAs Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award, Ten Honored for Best Practices
2. New study reveals prevalence of cyberbullying and its psychological impact on nonheterosexual youth
3. Association for Psychological Science 22nd Annual Convention
4. Childhood psychological problems create long-term economic losses, study finds
5. Kids Psychological Problems Have Long-Term Effects
6. Psychological intervention provides enduring health benefits for women with breast cancer
7. Psychological research conducted in WEIRD nations may not apply to global populations
8. Study: How Palestinian and Israeli children are psychologically scarred by exposure to war
9. Screen time linked to psychological problems in children
10. Could Excess Computer, TV Time Harm Kids Psychologically?
11. New research from Psychological Science
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:9/19/2017)... ... September 19, 2017 , ... The Workgroup for Electronic ... IT to create efficiencies in healthcare information exchange and a trusted advisor to the ... latest industry white paper, entitled Barriers to Adoption of the ERA and EFT ...
(Date:9/19/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... September 19, 2017 , ... Driving Dynamics ... Safety Training Company by Training Industry Inc. as part of its mission to continually ... , Selection to the first annual 2017 Top 20 Health and Safety Training Companies ...
(Date:9/19/2017)... ... September 19, 2017 , ... Spain’s popular line of health ... coming soon to RonnieColemanNutrition.com. , ACPG Laboratories has been in business for ... brand reliant on the healing properties of plants, a proven science known as ...
(Date:9/19/2017)... Houston, TX (PRWEB) , ... September 19, 2017 , ... ... individual's risk of a heart attack by measuring their risk factors and calculating their ... Harvey and Irma were predicted the same way CVD is predicted today: an estimated ...
(Date:9/19/2017)... ... 19, 2017 , ... The Davidson Institute for Talent Development ... September 27 at a reception in Washington D.C. The recipients received $50,000, $25,000 ... , “I am honored to be a Davidson Fellow Laureate,” said Rishab Gargeya, ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:9/1/2017)... Ind. , Sept. 1, 2017  Explorers Like Us ... capture America,s greatest aural experiences — and deliver these experiences ... experience to help people feel and heal better. ... While nothing beats a ... and refresh your mind, Life Environments™ is the next best ...
(Date:8/31/2017)... Aug. 31, 2017 PM360,s annual Innovations ... to the latest innovations happening across the industry. Established ... to focus on providing a comprehensive look at the ... covers the most innovative companies, startups, divisions, products, services, ... "Everyone in this industry wants to ...
(Date:8/29/2017)... In a move that promises to exponentially ... veterinary practices of all sizes, Cubex LLC and The ... TITAN,s expertise in physical security, drug diversion investigations, staff ... "Every veterinary ... is at risk today," said TITAN founder and CEO, ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: