Journal of Cancer Education

, Volume 31, Issue 4, pp 693–701 | Cite as

Do Men Receive Information Required for Shared Decision Making About PSA Testing? Results from a National Survey

  • Bryan LeyvaEmail author
  • Alexander Persoskie
  • Allison Ottenbacher
  • Jada G. Hamilton
  • Jennifer D. Allen
  • Sarah C. Kobrin
  • Stephen H. Taplin


Most professional organizations, including the American College of Physicians and U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, emphasize that screening for prostate cancer with the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test should only occur after a detailed discussion between the health-care provider and patient about the known risks and potential benefits of the test. In fact, guidelines strongly advise health-care providers to involve patients, particularly those at elevated risk of prostate cancer, in a “shared decision making” (SDM) process about PSA testing. We analyzed data from the National Cancer Institute’s Health Information National Trends Survey 2011–2012—a nationally representative, cross-sectional survey—to examine the extent to which health professionals provided men with information critical to SDM prior to PSA testing, including (1) that patients had a choice about whether or not to undergo PSA testing, (2) that not all doctors recommend PSA testing, and (3) that no one is sure if PSA testing saves lives. Over half (55 %) of men between the ages of 50 and 74 reported ever having had a PSA test. However, only 10 % of men, regardless of screening status, reported receiving all three pieces of information: 55 % reported being informed that they could choose whether or not to undergo testing, 22 % reported being informed that some doctors recommend PSA testing and others do not, and 14 % reported being informed that no one is sure if PSA testing actually saves lives. Black men and men with lower levels of education were less likely to be provided this information. There is a need to improve patient-provider communication about the uncertainties associated with the PSA test. Interventions directed at patients, providers, and practice settings should be considered.


Shared decision making PSA testing Prostate cancer screening Uncertainty Patient-provider communication 



The authors received no financial support for the research, authorship, and publication of this article. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the National Institutes of Health or any other government agency.

Conflict of Interest

The authors have no conflicts or financial interests to disclose.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York (outside the USA) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bryan Leyva
    • 1
    Email author
  • Alexander Persoskie
    • 2
  • Allison Ottenbacher
    • 3
  • Jada G. Hamilton
    • 4
  • Jennifer D. Allen
    • 5
  • Sarah C. Kobrin
    • 1
  • Stephen H. Taplin
    • 1
  1. 1.Process of Care Research Branch, Behavioral Research ProgramNational Cancer Institute, National Institutes of HealthBethesdaUSA
  2. 2.Basic Biobehavioral and Psychological Sciences Branch, Behavioral Research ProgramNational Cancer Institute, National Institutes of HealthBethesdaUSA
  3. 3.Science of Research and Technology Branch, Behavioral Research ProgramNational Cancer Institute, National Institutes of HealthBethesdaUSA
  4. 4.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral SciencesMemorial Sloan Kettering Cancer CenterNew YorkUSA
  5. 5.Department of Public Health and Community MedicineTufts UniversityBostonUSA

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