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Friday 28th October 2016

Men not referred after PSA tests

26th March 2008

Too few men are being referred to secondary care for prostate cancer by GPs after having PSA tests.

Researchers at the NHS Cancer Screening Programmes have concluded among asymptomatic men tested for PSA in primary care, fewer were referred than was expected.

The body also felt that new guidance introduced in 2002 for GPs to clarify the age cut-offs for PSA testing with increased demand, was having no impact on practice and that there was now an urgent need for review “to ensure future, effective implementation of guidelines.�

Researchers from the programme looked at referral rates from 48 practices over three months and found the proportion of men referred to urologists with raised PSA levels only rose from 13.7% before the guidance to 18.2% afterwards and only 56% of GPs questioned said they were aware of the guidance.

The NHS Cancer Screening Programmes’ GP advisors have said they will now have another look at the prostate cancer risk management programme guidance.

Study leader Dr Jane Melia said: “The proportions referred were lower than that anticipated, so the influence of the guidelines seems to have been low.

“Without routine, standardised data on PSA tests in general practice, it will be impractical to monitor trends in use of the test, and its impact on GP workload and detection of prostate cancer.�

The NHS Cancer Screening Programmes said it was aware of the findings from the research and that it would now form part of the ongoing review of the prostate cancer risk management programme.


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