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Publication - Dr Kate Whittington

    The trends in prostate specific antigen usage amongst United Kingdom urologists--a questionnaire based study

    Citation

    Burden, HP, Davis, CR, Tate, S, Persad, R, Holmes, CH & Whittington, K, 2008, ‘The trends in prostate specific antigen usage amongst United Kingdom urologists--a questionnaire based study’. BMC Urology, vol 8., pp. 17

    Abstract

    BACKGROUND: Worldwide, the use of prostate specific antigen (PSA) testing as a screen for prostate cancer is contentious. Whilst there is no National UK Screening programme, many men undergo opportunistic screening. This study investigates UK urologist's usage of PSA and the awareness surrounding the Department of Health (DoH) PSA guidelines.

    METHODS: Urologists were sent a questionnaire regarding PSA cut-off values.

    RESULTS: Of the 733 urologists eligible to participate in this study 346 returned completed questionnaires giving a response rate of 47%. The most commonly generally used age-related PSA cut-off values (36% of respondents) are--3.5 ng/ml for 50 - 59 year olds, 4.5 ng/ml for 60 - 69 year olds and 6.5 ng/ml for over 70 year olds. Two-thirds (58%, 200/346) of respondents were aware of the DoH PSA guidelines but only 20% (n = 69/346) follow these guidelines. The majority of respondents (68%, n = 234/346) used higher PSA cut-offs than recommended by the DoH. The level of compliance showed marked regional variation with a range from 7% to 44% (median 19%). In addition, it was apparent that lower PSA cut-off values were used in private practice as opposed to the National Health Service.

    CONCLUSION: A nationwide lack of agreement on PSA cut-off values may generate a variable standard of care both regionally and in NHS versus private practice. Generally, higher PSA cut-off values are being used than recommended by the DoH guidance.

    Full details in the University publications repository