Why men in the United Kingdom still want the prostate specific antigen test.
Chapple A., Ziebland S., Hewitson P., McPherson A.
The prostate specific antigen (PSA) test is widely used to screen men for prostate cancer, but its value in diagnosing prostate cancer in asymptomatic men is controversial. In 2001, the U.K. Department of Health introduced the Prostate Cancer Risk Management Programme (PCRMP), through which men are given relatively detailed information before they make a final decision about a test. Little is known about men's experiences of the test since this program was introduced. We report an analysis of interviews with 30 men who were tested, or considered having a test, since the PCRMP was introduced. Our analysis suggests that men's views of the PSA test are dominated by their construction of testing as responsible health behavior and their perception of PSA as "just a blood test." Men's accounts also suggest that poor communication about the uncertainty of the test--and about treatment for prostate cancer--also persists.