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Reactions to 'false-positive' prostate cancer screenings assessed

Men who get a "false-positive" prostate cancer result -- an abnormal screening test followed by a biopsy indicating no evidence of cancer -- appear more likely to worry about their subsequent risk of cancer and report more problems with sexual function compared to men with normal screening results, according to a University of Iowa study.

The study findings, based on telephone surveys of 210 men, appear in the February online issue of the journal Urology. Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin malignancy diagnosed in men in the United States. The majority of men in the United States are screened beginning at age 50 with the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test.

"This study emphasizes the importance of doctors' discussing the pros and cons of prostate cancer screening with patients," said the study's lead author David Katz, M.D., associate professor of internal medicine in the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, and of epidemiology in the UI College of Public Health.

"Because screening affects a large number of men relative to those who are expected to benefit from treatment, even a small adverse effect of apparently false-positive results on cancer-related worry and quality of life could have a substantial impact on public health," said Katz, who also is a staff physician and researcher with the Department of Veterans Affairs Iowa City Health Care System and its Center for Research in the Implementation of Innovative Strategies and Practices.

The study team interviewed 101 men who had normal PSA levels and 109 men who had an abnormal PSA reading or abnormal digital rectal examination, but whose biopsy for prostate cancer then was negative.

Men with false-positives were about three times as likely to report being at least somewhat worried about getting prostate cancer and nearly twice as likely to report being bothered by their sexual function.

Katz said that the increased problems w
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Contact: Becky-soglin@uiowa.edu
becky-soglin@uiowa.edu
319-335-6660
University of Iowa
2-Mar-2007


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